Decatur High School freshman Kimberly Walling adjusts her swim cap before swim practice at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center earlier this week. Walling will be competing in four races this weekend at the district tournament, but she qualified in every event, something rarely accomplished. JESSICA KELLER, the Mirror

Walling making waves freshman season

Decatur High School freshman swimmer Kimberly Walling had two goals at the start of this season. The first was to compete at least once in every event. The second was to reach the state competition.

She was not expecting, however, to qualify for the district tournament in every event she could — the 50-, 100-, 200- and 500-yard freestyle, the 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley.

That was a surprise.

“I didn’t know at first,” Walling said, adding coach Sam Hunt hadn’t released any of the swimmers’ times until further into this season.

When he did, and Walling, learned her times in each event had qualified for the district tournament, she said she was caught off guard.

“I was like, ‘are you sure this is actually right?’ she said. “I was pretty happy with that.”

While Hunt, who is only in his second year coaching swimming, said he knew Walling’s feat was special, but he did not know how often it actually happens.

As it turns out, not much.

Todd Beamer High School girls swim coach Jennifer Larsen said it is rare for even the most accomplished swimmer to qualify in so many events.

“It doesn’t happen very often,” she said. “You might see it happen once every four or five years. It’s usually the guys that are able to get that done. So it’s pretty impressive when they’re able to do that.”

Walling will not actually be competing in each of the events this weekend, however.

Instead, she will be competing in two individual events, the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley, and two relays — the 200 IM and 400 free.

She said she wanted to compete in the 100 butterfly because it is her best event, and Hunt chose for her to compete in the 200 individual medley based on her times and her seeding.

Now she has her sights set on going to state, but this weekend at the district competition will be her last chance to qualify.

Walling said she has to shave almost two seconds on her 100 butterfly time, but she has been working hard to do so by trying different breathing techniques and strategies to see if she can.

“I’m just trying to improve all the time,” Walling said.

More in Sports

Pacific Waves Synchronized Swim Club makes waves in Ohio, offers classes in Federal Way

The Pacific Waves Synchronized Swim Club recently competed at the USA Junior… Continue reading

Special Olympics comes to Federal Way – check out our special section

Federal Way hosted swimming and softball events as part of the 2018… Continue reading

Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club hosts Pepsi Northwest Women’s Open

Federal Way’s Claire Xu tied for low amateur honors

Federal Way middle-schoolers compete in district track and field meet

Illahee dominated all but one of the six divisions

Fourth of July walk/run to benefit mesothelioma research

The seventh annual Miles for Meso Washington Memorial 5K run/walk hits the… Continue reading

Federal Way Public Schools presents athlete Hall of Fame awards

Federal Way Public Schools on Monday evening inducted three new members into… Continue reading

Chopra, Still named Athletes of the Year

16 student-athletes were nominated for the honor

Thomas Jefferson High School athletes to sign with colleges

Eight students will continue their playing careers at the next level

Baseball players named to NPSL all-league teams

The 4A North Puget Sound League Olympic Division has announced its all-league… Continue reading

Federal Way boys baseball takes third in state tournament

Eagles defeated Wenatchee last Saturday after semifinal loss to Richland

Federal Way Eagles take flight, roll to state 400-meter relay title

Eric Jones, Anthony Frazier, Treyvon Davis and Marcus Eubanks set a school record in the event.

Federal Way Mirror Female Athlete of the Week: Kawehionalani Sharpe

Todd Beamer High School’s Kawehionalani Sharpe, fastpitch, was selected as the Federal… Continue reading