By Ron Newberry
Special to The Seattle Times
Newport swimmers looking to win the Sea-King District championship for the first time since 1986
None of Eric Bartleson’s swimmers were even born the last time Newport won the Sea-King District championship.
Bartleson said he believes that it was 1986 when Newport last won the district meet. The Knights from Bellevue will have a chance this weekend as they try to dethrone three-time defending state champion Skyline.
The Spartans have won the past four Class 4A district championships.
“It’ll be a good meet,” Bartleson said. “I know that Skyline each year, they get better at each meet. You can’t rest on what you did the last meet. You have to keep improving. The same way they are.”
The Sea-King District meet will take place Friday and Saturday at the University of Washington. Prelims start at 4 p.m. Friday. The diving competition will take place at Juanita High School Saturday morning.
Newport, the conference’s 4A dual meet champion this season, will send 19 swimmers into the district meet and will have four competitors in every event except the 100-yard backstroke and diving.
The addition of freshmen Elisa Fang and Jenny Huo has made Newport a force to reckon with this season.
Fang is the 4A state leader in the 50 freestyle (24.33) and 100 freestyle (53.26) and also swims on the Knights’ top-seeded 200 yard medley (1:51.29) and 400 freestyle (3:42.31) relays.
“Bartleson has so many different tools over there,” Mercer Island coach Chauntelle Johnson said. “With him having freshmen to fill out the relays, that’s the biggest thing with them. And they know how to race. I really saw that at the KingCo meet. He has some freshmen who really know what it’s like to go out and race.”
Mercer Island primed
Winners of the past three Class 3A state championships, Mercer Island is a heavy favorite to do the same next week in Federal Way.
The Islanders, who handily won the all-classification KingCo Championships last weekend, are sending nearly two dozen swimmers into the Sea-King District meet at the UW. Mercer Island will have four swimmers in every event at the district meet. The Islanders already have at least two state qualifiers in every event.
The top five finishers at the Sea-King meet will earn an automatic entry to the state meet Nov. 9-10 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
“I feel really good,” Johnson said. “I don’t feel any different than I did at the beginning of the season. I push them kind of hard. This is probably the best I’ve seen them respond to that.”
Grace Wold, a recent University of Wisconsin commit, will lead the Islanders. She is entered in the 200 Individual Medley, 100 butterfly and 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
“I think being able to represent Mercer Island for the last time at the district meet is something I can’t be more excited for,” said Wold, a six-time state champion.
A look at the top individual performances over the past week:
– Grace Wold, Mercer Island: Won the 200 freestyle (1:57.27) and 100 backstroke (57.45) and was part of the winning 400 freestyle relay (3:39.81) at the KingCo Championships. All were state-qualifying times.
– Megan Kawaguchi, Mount Rainier: Won the 200 Individual Medley (2:07.08) and 100 backstroke (57.96) at the 4A West Central District meet.
– Angela Gagliardo, Kennedy Catholic: Was a part of three winning events at the Seamount League Championships, taking first in the 200 IM (2:20.00), 100 breaststroke (1:09.97) and the 400 freestyle relay (3:47.35).
– Kenna Ramey, Federal Way: Won the 50 freestyle (23.98) and 100 butterfly (57.03) at the 4A West Central District meet.
– Anna Luksetich, Kennedy Catholic: Won the 200 freestyle (2:05.45) and 500 freestyle (5:43.5) and was part of the winning 400 freestyle relay (3:47.35) at the Seamount League Championships.
– Sabrina Kwan, Mercer Island: Freshman was part of two winning relays that swam in state-qualifying times at the KingCo Championships.
– Caitlin Chambers, Garfield: Defending state champion scored 452.90 points to win the diving competition at the KingCo Championships.
– Ashley Knox, Kennedy Catholic: Scored 410.80 points to won the diving title at the Seamount League Championships.
– Talisa Wibmer, Hazen: Was part of three winning events at the Seamount League Championships, taking first in the 100 butterfly (1:02.41) and 100 backstroke (59.64) and 200 medley relay (1:56.04).