Swimmers: Let them eat wake

"The Bainbridge High School girls’ swim-and-dive team’s steamroll ride over the rest of the Olympic League this year has been utterly predictable since the first few weeks of the season.And yet, that hasn’t taken the edge off the excitement the Spartans generate in the least.Bainbridge capped an unbeaten regular season last Friday with a scintillatingly successful splash through the league championship meet, snatching first place in 10 of 12 events in the eight-team event en route to a 437-point performance – 113 points better than its nearest competitor.“We did everything we wanted to do,” Bainbridge coach Greg Colby said. “It’s going to take a total team effort, but I think we’ve got a legitimate chance at winning state.”Highlights included an almost-unprecedented tie in the 100-yard butterfly event between Spartans senior Christina Swanson and sophomore Melissa Clune. Their 58.85-second finish was more than 10 seconds ahead of their closest competitors.“I’ve seen maybe three ties in my entire life in swimming,” Colby said.The 200-yard freestyle relay was just as sizzling to the screaming capacity home crowd at the Ray Williamson Memorial Pool, as Colby stacked the event with his four top swimmers in the hope of capturing a pool record.The quartet of Swanson, Clune, Leslie Wukstich and Helen Silver came through as advertised, shattering the pool mark with a superlative 1:40.61 performance, nearly five seconds ahead of PA’s second-place foursome.The quartet also comprises the bulk of Bainbridge’s state qualifiers to date. Swanson will go in the 50 free and 100 breaststroke events, Silver in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke, Wukstich in the 100 and 200 free events and Clune in the 50 free and 100 fly.Junior Alexis Kimball, a basketball standout rehabilitating a torn knee ligament, has also sneaked into state in the 100 backstroke. She finished second at the league meet with a just-off-state-qualifyig time of 1:04.09.Other state hopefuls heading into next weekend’s West Central District meet at Tacoma’s Clover Park include Sarah Weigle, whose first-place 5:34.10 showing in the 500 free competition at the league meet gives her a fighting chance.Courtney Dreiling, who captured the 1-meter diving event with a 271 score, also could compete at state with a standout finish at the district event.Lakes, which gave Bainbridge a tough battle last year, figures again to be the Spartans’ top district nemesis. At state, with the expected decline of Mercer Island, Bellevue appears to be the team most likely to stand in the Spartans’ way.Strategy will come into play next weekend, as it will at state, Colby said. Knowing just how much to rest key swimmers is crucial, as well as knowing just how to stack certain events so that the best swimmers will be warm but not weary when they step to the platform for their primary races.“We’re going to need a real balanced attack,” Colby said. “We’re going to be testing out a lot of strengths, especially in the relays, in the week ahead and in district. “But I like our options. I like what we can do.”"

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