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Spartans primed to challenge Mercer Island for swim/dive title
As expected, two-time defending champion Mercer Island and perennial challenger Bainbridge Island will battle it out for the Class 3A state swimming and diving championship this weekend in Federal Way.
Mercer won the Sea-King District meet last weekend, outscoring the Spartans 336 to 273 points. But the state meet is a different event because of a higher competition level.
Both teams are primed with swimmers qualifying for state in each event. The Spartans have qualified 11 swimmers and diver Shannon Engelbrecht, a sophomore who was runnerup in district and has the fifth-best scoring total in a meet entering state.
At district, Bainbridge won two relay events and two individual races (Sarah Grundman in the 500-yard freestyle and Geneva Levy in the 200 free), while Mercer won the 400 free relay, finished second in the other two relay races and also won two individual events.
"District went about the way we thought it would," said Bainbridge coach Greg Colby "We figured we would finish second, but the points at state get spread out more."
The Spartans haven't challenged for the state title since winning in 2005, but Colby thinks his young team has a shot at it this year.
"We're in a great position and we're just hoped everything comes together," he said.
The young Spartans, who are all underclassmen except for senior co-captains Tess Harpur and Cameo Hlebasko, have the best times in 3A in the 200-yard medley and 200-free relays, and have the third-best mark in the 400 free relay behind Mercer and Hanford.
Individually, sophomore Geneva Lacy has the best time in the 200 free and the second-best clocking in the 500 free behind teammate Sarah Grundman, while Spartan Kay Sterner has the fifth-best time at 500 yards.
Harpur ranks second in both the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard breaststroke.
Two of the most important races will be the 200-yard individual medley and the 500-yard freestyle races; both Bainbridge and Mercer have four racers in each event
Other Spartans competing in the state meet include: Shayla Archer, Anna Peirano, Natalie Ackerley, Mikelle Ackerley and Erin Williams.
The 3A segment of the two-day event at the King County Aquatic Center begins with the prelims at 9:45 a.m. Friday and the finals under way at 10 a.m. Saturday.