High School Sports

Sehome relay win falls just short of record

Bellingham coach Jeff Anderson perfectly summed up the enormity of state records.

“Records are elusive,” he said. “You just chase and chase and chase.”

Sehome’s 200 free relay team of Josh Larson, Joseph Adams, Zach Shenkin and Isaiah Grambo know that feeling thanks to a win in their event where they came up five hundredths of a second short of the Class 2A Boys’ Swimming State Championship meet record on Saturday, Feb. 21, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

Anderson was describing Martin Sloley’s hunt for the Bellingham school record in the 100 breaststroke, but the Mariners are now also familiar with the sentiment after posting a time of 1:28.55 in the 200 free relay.

The constant for that relay team, which has been made up of a variety of combinations this season, was Sehome coach Don Helling. Helling was awarded the Coach of the Year award for the 2A classification, and presented the awards for the 200 free relay.

“He’s been there all year pushing us, so it was cool to see him at the end of all that hard work,” Larson said.

Helling voiced his pride in the team after the meet.

“They came on at the right time time. With yesterday’s time we knew a sub-30 might be in the cards,” Helling said. “All their splits were fast. It’s exciting, this is what brings out the best in all of the kids.”

The team was eying a record as a secondary goal, after the primary goal of securing the victory, Larson said.

Larson, a senior, viewed his role as lead-off man as that of the trend-setter.

“I need to start out strong, get us a good jump,” he said. “You always dig deep in every race.”

Larson’s start would be instrumental in a record-setting pace, and he got the team going quickly, with a 22.26 50-yard split to start the race with Sehome in a slight lead after the first leg.

Adams was up next, bringing some stability and pace to the team. His 22.85 50 split gave the Mariners a 0.53-second lead going into the second half of the race.

Shenkin’s third leg gave Sehome almost a full 2-second lead, as he raced out for a 22.05 split.

Grambo was the anchor, and summed up his role as “to bring it home.”

He did that, and more. The senior’s 21.39 split was faster than his time in the 50 free event (22.00), and secured the win for his team.

With such a big lead going into his leg, what did the Grambo use as motivation?

“We were looking for the time,” he said.

Though it wasn’t a meet record, the time will stand as second best in the 2A classification at state behind only Archbishop Murphy’s 2013 time of 1:28.50, and the Sehome school record.