Swimmers take fourth at state

No individual or relay titles, but team comes home with a trophy.

FEDERAL WAY – On the awards podium, Keziah Beall – all six feet, one inch of her – towered over everyone else, including Kennedy’s 5-2 Brianne Lindblad, who, even with the assist from the first-place podium, still couldn’t match her height.

The senior co-captain took second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 53.34 – one-one hundredth of a second behind Lindblad’s time of 53.33 – at the 2A/3A state swim and dive meet Saturday in Federal Way.

Beall kept with Lindblad from turn to turn, with the ending a photo finish.

Her time was her personal best and Beall’s silver medal was the closest any Spartan came to winning a individual title at the meet.

“Just after I finished, (teammate) Isabel (Williams) said ‘Did you cut your fingernails?’” Beall said with a laugh after her race. “I said ‘No,” and she said ‘Well, that would have been a fingernail finish.’

Beall said she saw where Lindblad was at all times.

“It’d be funny to see what (the time was) in the thousandths were to see how close we actually were,” she continued. “But at the same time, I don’t want to see them, because I might be upset that I didn’t reach a little farther at the end.

“I kinda wish I could do it again, but at the same time, I’m glad with the time I had. I wasn’t disappointed at all.”

Even though she lost out on a title by centimeters, many of her teammates and coaches were blown away by her performance.

“That was amazing,” said Tessa Griffin of her co-captain and best friend. “To have someone that close to you swim that fast – no one deserves it more than Keziah. Keziah is one of the most genuinely best people I have ever met.

“She’s the one person that I think deserves to do so well because she works hard at it.”

Several other teammates and head coach Greg Colby echoed those same sentiments.

“It was amazing to see Keziah swim that well,” India Wade said. “That was really satisfying for me.”

“We talked about it and I said ‘You can go as fast as you want,’ Colby said. “If you want a shot at Brianne, you’re going to have to see her so you’re going to have to be ahead of (Kennedy’s Amanda Thatch) in lane five.

“She did exactly that. It was an awesome swim and it was super inspiring for the team.”

Beall’s swim was one of the highlights on a tough day for the Spartans in the face of several talented individuals and three stellar teams in Mercer Island, Camas and Kennedy fighting with Bainbridge for a state title.

Beall finished fifth in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:55.84.

Isabel Williams ended her prep career without a repeat in the 100 butterfly or a win in the 100 backstroke.

She took fifth in the butterfly with a time of 58.61 and fourth in the backstroke with a time of 1:00.58.

Williams said she was “a little disappointed” with the way things ended for her, but she also admitted that she didn’t come in at her best.

“In perspective of everything else it was good,” she said. “My second season best and season best (times) was (in the prelims).

“I would have loved to come back and won or place top three but it wasn’t in the cards,” Williams continued.

Julie Pendleton took fifth in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:13.86.

She placed third in the consolation final of the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:00.47.

Wade took seventh in the consolation final of the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:01.62 and fourth in the consolation final of the 100 freestyle with a time of 54.98.

“Personally, I wasn’t very happy,” Wade said of her performance in the individual events. “I did well in the 200. The 100 was a little disappointing. It was nowhere near my best time.”

Kristine Valdez was fourth in the consolation final of the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:20.67.

“It was alright,” she said. “It wasn’t my best but I did the best I could.”

Griffin took sixth in the consolation final of the 50 free with a time of 25.66.

“It was an okay race to end my career on,” she said. “But it definitely gave me the feeling that I’m not done yet.

“I’ve been toying with the idea of swimming in college and now I definitely really want to, because there’s more to come.”

Diver Shelby Mann missed making it to the second day, placing 20th in the diving competition with 184.25 points.

The 200 medley relay team of Williams, Pendleton, Wade and Griffin took fourth with a time of 1:53.03 while the 200 freestyle relay team of Griffin, Leah Erickson, Pendleton and Beall placed fourth with a time of 1:41.80.

“I thought we did pretty well,” Griffin said of the two relay performances. “There was a lot of pressure going in when you have all these really great teams but I think we all did so good.

“Leah did so well. It was her first state meet and she swam as fast as all of us. I’m really proud of her.”

The 400 freestyle relay team of Wade, Valdez, Williams and Beall took second with a time of 3:39.40.

Wade and Valdez kept right with Kennedy for the first two legs while Williams and Beall did their best to stay close in the last two legs and hold off Mercer’s team and Camas’ team.

“I think everyone swam their best,” Wade said. “It was just really emotional because it’s their last year and we’ve been friends since we were six.

“We were all so excited for that relay and we swam our best.”

Colby said they wanted to meet their goal of breaking 3:40.

The Spartans finished fourth overall with 189 points.

Kennedy won their first title in school history with 286 points, followed by Mercer Island and Camas.

The finish breaks their 14-year -old streak of placing no worse than third at the state meet.

But Colby said he’s happy to take something home, no matter what it is.

“To watch that last swim was emotional,” he said.

Next year, the Spartans lose their top swimmers and several other seniors but get Pendleton, Valdez and Wade back for another year.

Colby thinks the majority of this year’s freshman will be back and they’ll get some new incoming talent provided they get back in the pool with their club teams.

“It’s going to be a big shift,” he said of losing seniors with a combined 35 seasons of experience.

Wade and Valdez both feel the team will be strong next season.

“We’re both going to train a lot this year,” Wade said. “We have a some fast freshman coming in.”

“I think we’re excited. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

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