Records fall and Rogers, Bellevue repeat


Sports editor

Federal Way proved to be a fine host to the best high school swimmers in Washington — again. The Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center was the site of the Class 4A and Class 3A/2A state swimming and diving championships Friday and Saturday.

It was a meet that saw a pair of teams repeat as state champions — Rogers in the Class 4A meet and Bellevue in 2A/3A — and four state records shattered.

Rogers easily outdistanced South Puget Sound League companion Kentwood 218 to 187.5 to win its second consecutive Class 4A title and Bellevue swam past second-place Mercer Island to win its second in a row and fourth title in the last five years.

The star of the meet, however, came from Bainbridge Island. Emily Silver, a Bainbridge High School senior, broke a pair of state records on her way to winning the 50- and 100-yard freestyle titles. Silver will join her older sister, Helen, at the University of California next year and will also swim at the U.S. Olympic Trials in August. Silver won the 50 in 22.99 second — breaking the state record of 23.17, which was set in 1990 — and took the 100 free in 50.16. The old state record of 50.29 was set last year by Auburn’s Emily Kukors.

Other state records were set by Oak Harbor junior Missy McIntyre in the 100 breaststroke and the Rogers 200-yard medley relay team. McIntyre — named the 4A swimmer of the year — broke her own record with a new time of 1:02.39 during Friday’s preliminary races and Rogers also broke its own state record with a time of 1:45.77.

The Class 4A state championships proved to be a good learning experience for the seven girls from the Federal Way School District.

Things seem to be in place for the Thomas Jefferson girl’s swim team to make a splash at next year’s state meet. Coach Wendy Neely took five underclassmen to the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center Friday and Saturday to compete in the state championships.

Sophomores Tasia Esparza, Justina Coe, Kerri Blegan and Lindsey Hesla, along with junior Brendy Stevens, all qualified at the West Central District meet.

All will be back next year for Neely — except for Hesla.

Hesla and her family will be moving to Southern California during the summer because her father received a promotion from Boeing.

Esparza was the high-placer for the Raiders during the state championships. Esparza finished up in 15th place in the 100-yard breaststroke. The sophomore swam a 1:11.30 in the preliminaries on Friday, which qualified her for the “B” final race on Saturday. The “A” final featured the top-eight preliminary qualifiers and crowned the state champion and the “B” final was made up of the next eight qualifiers. Esparza swam a 1:10.39 on Saturday to earn the Raiders three team points — their only points of the meet.

Esparza’s three points placed Jefferson in 46th place as a team.

Coe also qualified for the “B” final after Friday’s preliminary heats at the Aquatics Center. The sophomore placed 16th in the 500-yard freestyle in a time of 5:29.23 Saturday. Coe swam a 5:26.06 during the prelims to earn the 16th and final berth in the final round. Kentwood’s Courtney Eronemo won the event in 4:57.64.

Hesla was the Raiders only other individual qualifier. The sophomore finished up in 21st place out of 24 swimmers during Friday’s preliminary heats in the 100-yard backstroke. Hesla swam a time of 1:04.99, which wasn’t good enough to qualify for Saturday’s final two heats. The winner of the event was Kamiakin’s Rikka Brunner in 57.64.

Jefferson also qualified its 200-yard freestyle relay team for the state meet, but also failed to make it past the preliminary round. The team was made up of Esparza, Hesla, Stevens and Blegan. The Raiders finished up in 19th on Friday in a time of 1:46.55. Kentwood won the finals in 1:39.89.

Federal Way’s Shannon O’Neill finished up in 13th place in the 1-meter diving finals Saturday. The senior tallied 285.10 points during the 10-dive final round. O’Neill was in 10th place after Friday’s preliminary round.

Eisenhower’s Doria Holbrook won the 1-meter diving final with 382.55 points.

Decatur’s lone representative at the state meet also didn’t make it past the preliminaries. Freshman Alyssa Boggs placed 21st out of 24 swimmers in the 200-yard freestyle.

Boggs finished her preliminary heat in a time of 2:03.95. Rogers’ Megan Rains won the event in a time of 1:49.94.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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