Though she entered the Class 3A State Championships with the top qualifying times in 100 and 200 freestyles, Squalicum senior Sydney Wong admits she really had her eye set on winning one race late Saturday on championship night at the King County Aquatic Center.
“I won 100 as a freshman, and I thought it would be cool to end my high school career the same way,” Wong said.
She did, claiming the title with a time of 52.28 seconds, beating Interlake’s Erin Harvey by 0.13 seconds.
“I knew at 75 (yards) I was winning,” Wong said, “but at the 50, it was really close. Everyone went out a lot faster than I thought they would.”
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Wong’s coach, Randy Elsner, said he never had any doubt she would emerge as the state champion in the event.
“She was only a hundredth of a second off the time of (Harvey) from the day before,” Elsner said. “She said she really wanted this one, and she swam really good in her first event – the 200 freestyle – earlier. When she stepped up, I turned around and looked at our principal and our athletic director, Patrick Brown, who were both down there, and said, ‘Watch this.’ I turned around, and she fought all the way through to come out on top.”
Wong also finished third in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:52.8, despite battling illness throughout the week in practice.
Teammate Yanran Le also battled illness but still finished second in the 100 breaststroke with an automatic All-American consideration time of 1:03.87, 0.27 seconds behind Franklin Pierce’s Mandolin Nguyen. Le also placed fifth in the 200 individual medley in 2:08.17.
As if that weren’t enough, the duo joined Tiana Varang and Kristina DeKoster to place sixth in the 200 freestyle in a school-record time of 1:40.81.
Overall in its first year competing at the Class 3A level, Squalicum placed sixth with 132.5 points, behind state champion Lakeside’s 244.
“I’m really proud of everyone; our team was one of the smallest out there,” Wong said.