It’s been an unusual boys swimming season thus far for the Mercer Island Islanders.
The KingCo Dual Meet Championships took place Tuesday with the Islanders not among the four invited guests.
Still, Newport coach Eric Bartleson wouldn’t make much of it as he looks to this weekend’s KingCo Championships at the University of Washington.
The Islanders have won the league championship meet 10 years in a row. All 18 Class 4A, 3A and 2A teams compete for the single KingCo crown.
“Mercer Island is still the favorite until someone knocks them off,” Bartleson said. “It’ll be a good meet.”
For two years, Newport has been the runner-up to Mercer Island at the league championships.
“I think we’ll push them a bit,” Bartleson said. “I think Bellevue will push them a little bit. Four swimmers can score in every event. That’s where they’ve really got great depth.”
Mercer Island is trying to recapture its Class 3A state championship form after watching a string of six straight state titles come to an end last season.
Lakeside prevailed last year to claim its first state championship.
Mercer Island lost a rare KingCo dual meet to Bellevue but still managed to record victories over 4A wave-makers Newport, Issaquah and Skyline.
“I feel no different than I did at the beginning of the season,” Mercer Island coach Chauntelle Johnson said. “We have a specific focus for each of the coming weekends of meets and our boys will be ready on Friday and Saturday for this week’s focus regardless of the other competing teams or outcomes.”
Johnson said the Islanders exemplify the meaning of team this season with no main stars yet plenty of quality depth. She said it’s possible that Mercer Island might not have an individual champion the next three weekends. However, strong relays and quality depth are expected to keep Mercer Island among the state meet favorites.
The KingCo meet takes place Friday and Saturday at the UW. Finals begin at 9:30 a.m. for diving and 3:45 p.m. for swimming Saturday.
Newport, Bellevue take dual meet titles
Newport and Bellevue came out winners at the KingCo Dual Meet Championships.
Newport defeated Inglemoor, 121-64, to take the 4A crown, while Bellevue beat Interlake, 99-81.
Newport swept all three relays, including the 200-yard medley relay in a state-qualifying 1:43.69.
Freshmen Dave Makhervaks and Aaron Elhajj both had huge days for Newport, winning two individual events and swimming on two winning relays.
Makhervaks won the 50 freestyle (22.78) and 100 backstroke (55.57) in state-qualifying times while Elhajj won the 200 Individual Medley (2:02.48) and 500 freestyle (4:58.31).
Newport, which defeated Skyline in a dual meet last week to clinch its division, won every event except the diving against Inglemoor.
In the 3A competition between divisional winners, Bellevue got monster performances by senior Matt Williams and junior Morgan Ciliv to hold off Interlake.
Ciliv was part of two winning relays and also won the 200 IM (2:01.40) and 100 breaststroke (1:00.20) in state-qualifying times. Williams was victorious in the 200 freestyle (1:52.18) and 100 backstroke (56.03) and anchored the winning 200 medley relay.
In that relay, both Bellevue (1:42.25) and Interlake (1:43.51) had faster times than Newport’s time in the 4A competition.
Shum’s the word
Lakeside’s Michael Shum achieved his personal goal of qualifying for the 3A state meet in all eight individual swimming events.
Shum, who will graduate at the age of 16 in the spring, made the final qualifying cut in the 500 freestyle (4:58.25) in a meet against O’Dea last Friday. He qualified in the 100 butterfly (54.20) the previous week against O’Dea.
Lakeside, the defending 3A state champions, finished the Metro League dual meet season unbeaten.
Curtis takes SPSL title
While most area schools will hold league championships this weekend, the South Puget Sound League took care of business last weekend.
Curtis scored 263 points to win the 4A meet, edging Kentridge (234) and Mount Rainier (232) at Rogers in Puyallup.
Brian Woodbury did the most damage for Curtis, winning the 200 IM and 100 freestyle (48.68). His 200 IM time of 1:56.59 narrowly beat Kentridge’s Chase Bublitz (1:56.66).
Bublitz, a double event state champion last year, did win the 100 butterfly (51.32).
Kentlake’s Erik Fulmer won the 200 freestyle (1:49.00) and was second in the 100 butterfly (56.45).
Kentridge won two relays and was second in a third.
Skyline’s Max Levy stood tallest at the KingCo district diving meet at Juanita on Saturday.
Levy qualified for the 4A state meet by scoring 477.75 points. Also qualifying for state were Redmond brothers Eric Klassen (408.05) and Phillip Klassen (379.20) and Garfield’s Skiah Garde-Garcia (326.05).
In the 3A competition, Mercer Island swept the top two spots as Cody Hall (321.90) and Connor Nielson (301.15) qualified for the state meet.
Lake Washington’s Kameron Mason was top qualifier (194.85) in 2A.