Emily Silver makes history

Bainbridge senior Emily Silver flashes a smile while cooling down after the 50-freestyle race. - RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo
Bainbridge senior Emily Silver flashes a smile while cooling down after the 50-freestyle race.
— image credit: RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo

Zinc. Copper. Cadmium.

There are folks who will buy all sorts of purifiers to keep trace elements out of their water.

But there was nothing anyone could do Saturday at King County Aquatic Center, no filtration system strong enough, to keep Silver out of the water.

On this day -- the 3A state swimming championships -- Silver was contagion, not contaminant. Bainbridge High School senior Emily Silver inspired shrieking, heart palpitations, and a wide outbreak of smiling faces every time she hit chlorinated H2O.

Not that anyone wanted reprieve from Silver – they were watching history. Her efforts in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events garnered her the previously unobtained: state titles in both races, for the fourth consecutive year.

No prep swimmer in Washington state, male or female, has ever repeated championships in two events every year of their high school career.

Not to mention the manner in which the events unfolded. Silver eclipsed a 13-year-old state record in the 50-free, her time of 22.99 besting the 23.17 mark set by Mercer Island’s Megan Oesting in 1990. Sequim’s Summer Jackson, who placed second, touched the wall nearly 1.5 seconds behind Silver.

Her 100-free finish broke last year’s 50.29 record, set by Emily Kukors of Auburn, and solidly cemented her place in high school swimming history.

After Silver flashed an award-winning smile and waved to the KCAC crowd from the first-place podium, a hearty and heart-felt cheer went up en masse from the Bainbridge faithful -- “Way to go, Emily!”

Not two seconds later, the Bellevue fans repeated the sentiment verbatim, confirming that Silver fever had indeed infected the rest of the building.

As the team banners came down and swim fans shuffled out of the humid air, a pair of Mercer Island swimmers were mulling over the monumental day.

“She’s incredible,” one said. “Incredible.”

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