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Decatur's Hong wins state swimming championship
Look for complete story and photos in Wednesday's edition of the Mirror.
Coming into this season, Decatur senior Sandy Hong had one goal on her mind: a state championship in the 500-yard freestyle.
Hong finished second last year in the event to a swimmer who was a senior, and thus graduated this year. But Hong knew she would be the new target other swimmers would be aiming for this year.
Hong came through on her goal Friday by winning the state championship in the 500, swimming the event in 5:00.24. In the finals, Hong cut five seconds off her seeding time and more than two seconds off the time she swam in the preliminary round the day before. Second-place Alexis Buckley of Walla Walla swam the race in 5:01.14.
Hong also took fourth in the 200 free state finals, swimming in 1:54.42.
Jefferson senior Caitlin Friedhoff finished second-place in the state finals of the 100 freestyle. Friedhoff was second to defending state champion and South Puget Sound League rival Emily Kukors of Auburn, who swam the race in 50.29. Friedhoff finished in 51.61.
Friedhoff also anchored Jeffersons 200 medley relay team of ninth-grader Lindsey Hesla, ninth-grader Tasia Esparza and junior Kristin Okazaki. The team took fourth place in the state with a time of 1:53.72.
Individually, Okazaki finished sixth in the 200 individual medley in 2:09.18 and fifth in the 100 butterfly in 57.70.
Jeffersons 200 freestyle relay team of Friedhoff, Okazaki, Esparza and sophomore Brendy Stevens won the consolation final race with a time of 1:42.61 for ninth place overall.
Decaturs 200 freestyle relay team of Hong, senior Amber Spencer, senior Chris Heydon and sophomore Niko Olsrud finished sixth in the consolation finals for 15th place overall with a time of 1:44.96.
Jefferson finished ninth out of 49 teams in the overall standings with 92 points. Rogers won the team title with 266 points. Decatur was 16th with 48 points. No swimmers from Federal Way High School qualified for the state meet.