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No. 1 swimmers swamp foes en route to state
"There was a little bit of everything in the Bainbridge High School girls' swim-and-dive team's West Central District meet victory last weekend.There was drama. There was heartbreak. There was controversy.Almost lost in all of that was the victory - and what a victory it was, as the Spartans more than doubled the points scored by their next-closest competitor, host Lakes of Tacoma, 452 to 221, over the two-day event.The showing put Bainbridge in prime position to push toward a teamwide 3A state championship.There was a mix of everything, Bainbridge coach Greg Colby said. Hopefully, it work up the girls to the intensity, the whole range of things that can happen at a championship meet.The meet opened uneventfully enough, as the Spartans swept the 200 medley relay by nearly eight seconds ahead of Lakes, just an missing All-American consideration time of 1 minute, 53.33 seconds.Lakes got one of its few victories in the 200 freestyle event, as Bainbridge's Leslie Wukstich - already a state qualifier in the event - finished second to the Lancers' Jennifer Hale.Helen Silver then took first in the 200 individual medley, followed by younger sister Emily Silver's triumph in the 50 free - for which she and teammate Melissa Clune have already qualified.Diver Tessa Mabrey then secured her position at the state with a first-place 321.25 score, followed by Clune's field-topping 59.06 showing in the 100 butterfly - just .12 seconds off All-American consideration.Emily Silver then took the 100 freestyle crown, just sliding under All-American consideration standards with a 53.57 swim.Then, the drama and controversy struck.There was a lot riding on the 500 freestyle event - it was one of two events in which Bainbridge swimmers were expected all season to qualify for state but had not.In her last chance, in her senior year, Wukstich had just enough left from her two days of swimming to squeak by the 5:23.70 state standard, finishing just .34 ahead.It was a matter of picking up my pace, focusing, and making the turns, Wukstich said.Her triumph, however, was overshadowed by tears as junior Meghan Lockwood was disqualified from the same event for allegedly failing to touch the wall pads on four of her flip-turns.In a true display of senior leadership, Wukstich brought Lockwood onto the platform with her as prize ribbons were being handed out. With one arm around her disconsolate teammate, Wukstich used the other hand to accept her second-place ribbon - and hand it to Lockwood.Bainbridge then took the 200 freestyle relay - another state qualifier - before Helen Silver successfully defended her district title in the 100 backstroke, an event for which she was last season's state champion.Then, in the 100 breastroke event, came the heartbreak.Freshman Meredith Blumenthal, Bainbridge's last potential state qualifier, appeared to be in position to do so after winning Friday's preliminary heat. Though her time was more than a second short of the state standard, all she needed was a first place in Saturday's final to advance to the state meet as a freshman.It happened - and then, it didn't.Colby said Blumenthal apparently thought a false start call had been made, and as a result didn't touch both of her hands on the timing pad during her swim. After a brief consultation among event officials, she was disqualified.There's a possibility, however, that she may be granted a wild-card berth to state if the district's allocations for her event haven't been filled at state. Word on those invitations won't be issued any sooner than Sunday.Bainbridge, ranked first among 3A schools in the latest Washington Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association poll, is being thought of as a favorite heading into the Nov. 9 through 11 state 2A/3A meet at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.The girls know it in the backs of their minds, but aren't allowing themselves to bring them to the front quite yet.Ultimately, we'd like to win, Wukstich said. But if we talk about that, then we're not as focused on our training as we need to be.Colby agreed. We'll focus for the next few weeks on the things we can control, he said. Hopefully, things will be a little more even-keeled at state.Island sailor 11th in national eventBainbridge High School's Pat Taylor placed 11th in a prestigious national high school single-handed sailing event last weekend - despite not knowing he would be in the competition until two nights before.Taylor, a top competitor on the Spartan spring sailing squad, was a late entrant in the High School Single Handed Nationals that took place last weekend on Lake Washington.The senior, who works out every weekend at the Port Madison Yacht Club on a year-round basis, was prepared to jump into the event when the host district had an open position in the field to allocate on short notice, said John DeMeyer, his high school coach.Taylor, sailing in the Full Rig Class in a 16-boat field, finished the event 11th overall after placing at various points as high as sixth.These are some of the very best sailors in the country, and Pat was quite competitive, DeMeyer said. I think he was really pleased to be within striking distance of those 'big-timers.'For an added bonus, Taylor finished ahead of one of his top rivals, Chimacum's Emery Wager, who took the top allocation in the Northwest District qualifier in Bellingham more than a month before ahead of him. "