Swimming: Federal Way boasts some of state's top talent

During her first three seasons, Thomas Jefferson senior Amber Cratsenberg has garnered three individual state swimming championships. - Mirror file photo
During her first three seasons, Thomas Jefferson senior Amber Cratsenberg has garnered three individual state swimming championships.
— image credit: Mirror file photo

The state of girls swimming within the Federal Way school district is strong — as usual.

The four high schools feature some of the best swimming talent in the state. Some of that credit has to go to the King County Aquatic Center — one of the top pools in the nation — and the numerous year-round swim teams that call it home. Elite teams like King Aquatic Club or Valley Aquatic include several swimmers from Jefferson, Beamer, Federal Way and Decatur.

And with the widespread participation on the year-round teams, swimmers from Federal Way are always top contenders for state championships.

This season will be no different.

The best of the bunch will be Jefferson senior Amber Cratsenberg. During her first three seasons, Cratsenberg has garnered three individual state championships.

As a sophomore, she pulled off the double in the two freestyle sprint events at the 4A state meet inside the King County Aquatic Center. Cratsenberg won the 50- and 100-yard free titles.

Last year, she defended her 100 free title, but fell seven-hundredths of a second short in the 50 to Skyline’s Katie Kinnear.

Her time in the 100 (50.96) was good enough to earn automatic All-America status. Cratsenberg won the race by nearly a second over second-place Joanna Wu from Kent-Meridian, who finished in 51.86.

Cratsenberg’s swims helped the Raiders finish in third place in the team standings, which was the highest in school history — and the second straight season TJ has finished with the team bronze medal.

The Raiders also bring back three of the best divers in the state in Madi Kellar, Monica Church and Shelby Church. Kellar finished in fourth place at the state meet last year, Monica Church was sixth and Shelby Church was eighth.

At Federal Way, head coach Carla Boone returns a solid group, led by Kenna Ramey and Eva Barth. As a freshman, Ramey swam at the state meet in the 50 free, 100 butterfly, 200 free relay and the 200 medley relay. Barth swam in both relays and helped the Eagles finish sixth in the 200 free relay.

Also returning for Federal Way are Marissa Meyer, Erika Snure, Sarah Grace, Lynsey Yunker, Emily Moneymaker, Erika Snure and Emily Ong.

“I am so lucky to share some time with the most amazing group of girls each year,” Boone said. “I am always proud of the way they care for each other and understand what teamwork really means. My athletes are as hard working in the pool as they are in the classroom.”

Beamer also brings back several state-caliber competitors, including Michelle Rah and Elizabeth Wiley. Rah, a junior, is returning to the Titans after taking a year off from swimming. As a freshman, Rah swam two individual events at the state meet.

Wiley finished in third place at the state tournament in the 1-meter diving event and both of the divers who finished in front of her graduated.

“Everyone must challenge themselves daily in practice by working hard and concentrating on proper technique,” said Neely. “The team has quite a few girls without much swimming experience.”

Decatur is entering its second season as a Class 3A school and brings back sophomore Lanie Vuong. As a freshman, Vuong competed in the 100-yard butterfly and was a part of the Gators’ 200 medley relay team at the state meet.


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