FEDERAL WAY – The Spartans stepped it up at the 2017 3A Girls State Swim & Dive Championships last weekend at the King County Aquatics Center.
Bainbridge High earned six place in total team points in the championships — one place higher than last season’s finish.
“We’re clawing our way back up,” said Spartan Coach Sarah Bullock.
Indeed. Bainbridge improved at State despite a roster that was less than robust.
“We only had 10 swimmers, between seven individual [racers] and three relay kids,” Bullock said.
“With 10 swimmers, I think that is pretty darn good,” she said.
The Spartans had a number of racers compete during the finals on Saturday, and made multiple trips to the medal stand.
Bainbridge placed second in the 200-yard freestyle, being edged at the end by Lakeside.
The fab foursome of Mackenzie Chapman, Hannah Lee, Erin Miller and Hannah Tonsmann swam to a time of 1:38.49.
Tonsmann placed third in the 100-yard freestyle. The junior racer had a time of 53.42 in the finals.
She also made it to the medal stand with a sixth-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle. She finished in 1:57.00.
Miller claimed third place in the 100-yard butterfly with a finals time of 56.98 on Saturday.
Miller was also fourth in the 50-yard freestyle. She swam the race in 24.51 to pick up another medal for the Spartans.
Spartan relay racers also performed well in the 400-yard freestyle relay, and won sixth place. The team of Miller, Lauren Witty, Chapman and Tonsmann had a time of 3:38.49.
Spartan relay racers were 11th in the 200-yard medley relay.
Moorea Eldon-Everts, Claire Camacho, Shea Schardein and Hannah Lee finished in 1:54.81.
Eldon-Everts also placed in 15th in the 200-yard individual medley, with a time of 2:14.65.
And, in the 100-yard backstroke, Eldon-Everts placed 13th for BHS in 1:01.26.
And, in diving, Jacki Hellmers placed seventh for a medal. She finished with a score of 310.65.
Fellow Bainbridge diver Alathea Pippinger also made it to State, and was 14th in the competition.
Pippinger just started diving last year, Coach Bullock noted.
“And so to pick it up and to qualify at state, and to place at state, was just phenomenal,” Bullock said.
Overall, the Spartans finished with 159 team points.
Bellevue won the team title with 281, followed by Lakeside (274) and Roosevelt (181).
“They really did great,” Bullock said. “Every single one of those kids got a best time.”
Most of the best times came during the preliminary races Friday.
Bullock said Miller and Tonsmann notched personal bests in some of their races, and Miller’s times in her freestyle races were her lifetime bests.
The 200 free relay team also shattered the school record (1:38.79) that had been in place since 1994.
Record aside, Miller said that relay race would be one she won’t soon forget.
“The most memorable moment for me was when our relay team stuck out that second,” Miller said. “We were a little bit behind at first.
“It was a really great moment for us because we had been swimming together all season on that relay. I really love those girls and I was really excited.”
Miller laughed when asked what was going through her mind as it came her time to dive in.
“Mostly I was just thinking, ‘Go fast.’”
“Those girls are waiting for me at the end of the wall I’ve got to just pull this out and I just got to give it the best I can do, and give it my all,” she added. “And I know Hannah is coming after me to finish us off strong.”
Claiming a medal — and then a few more — was a thrill, Tonsmann added.
“My goal has always been to stand on the podium. That was really cool to be able to do that four times at this meet,” Tonsmann said.
But Tonsmann said it was what was happening out of the water that left her humbled.
“I really like seeing all the support that all my teammates and friends and coaches give me throughout the season and the meet,” she said.
“I really felt like this year on deck especially; our team is like a small family,” Hellmers said.
“Everybody just felt so supportive and especially in finals. It was really cool to stand up on the board before every dive and see everybody in the stands and all of my team on deck, sitting on their buckets waiting to cheer. It was a really cool experience.”