By Doug Drowley | Special to The Seattle Times
Weiss eschews Islanders for U.S. World Cup, picks USC
The state’s top girls high-school swimming recruit, as ranked by collegeswimming.com, is off the board in more ways than one.
Mercer Island senior Hannah Weiss announced Tuesday that she has committed to swim for Southern California next fall, MI coach Chauntelle Johnson said. Weiss was all set to compete this fall for the four-time Class 3A state champion Islanders.
Then fate intervened.
The 17-year-old’s selection to the U.S. under-18 World Cup roster means that Weiss will graduate next spring without ever having swum a high school race. Weiss has spent most of her time in the pool training and competing with King Aquatic Club.
But for her senior year, Weiss had decided to swim for state titles. She got in enough practices to be eligible, and swam in the Mercer Island time trials early in September.
But the World Cup team, which includes 10 girls from nine different states, will compete in Beijing, China, on Nov. 13 and 14.
The state meet here in Washington is that same weekend, Nov. 14 and 15.
“She was totally on board with what we are doing,” Johnson said. “She would have been a great add. But she made a really smart choice for herself and we are really excited for her. I would tell you this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but it really is a once in a hundreds and hundreds of people’s lifetimes opportunity.”
Building even more depth for the champs
The raw number is nothing short of astounding, really.
It’s a number you’d expect of a football team – but a girls swimming squad?
Yet Johnson, the Mercer Island coach, has what might be considered an embarrassment of riches with the Islanders again as her team prepares for yet another defense of its 3A state title.
Johnson welcomed 64 swimmers out for the team this fall. She’s down to 63, but only because Weiss made the U.S. World Cup team.
The Islanders are led by a trio of stars – seniors Alex Siedel and Caitlin Cox, along with sophomore Sabrina Kwan. But none of these leaders are even swimming in every meet the Islanders have this season.
“All three of these girls have been doing a good job of guiding the younger swimmers, while still being focused on what they need to do,” Johnson said. “They are just excited for the season.”
Kwan is the only returning state individual champ – in the 100 butterfly – for the four-time defending 3A team titlists. But that could change this November. Siedel and Cox are both rated among the top 26 Washington swim recruits by collegeswimming.com.
“I don’t think winning events is outside the realm for a lot of girls on our team,” Johnson said. “But sometimes the kids may not be swimming their best event at state. What helps the team is putting as many points on the board as we can.”
To get her team to peak at the end, Johnson is being careful. That means during a current stretch when the team has some six meets over just a couple of weeks, the coach is mixing up who swims.
“In order to keep them fresh, they need a day off now and then,” she said.
Then there is the other issue that is driving Johnson’s use of her entire squad:
“We’re really battling flu and colds,” Johnson said. “I’m battling it. I was sick (Monday). At this point, it’s just getting us through the rest of the dual meets.”
And peaking by Nov. 15.
- Steilacoom visits Sumner in a big SPSL 3A/2A dual meet on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. The Sentinels and Spartans are both 6-0 in league play so far this season. Peninsula also remains unbeaten at 5-0 in the SPSL.
- Kamiak’s Knights took first and third in the final race of the meet earlier this week – the 400 freestyle relay – to beat Shorewood (95-91) in a dual meet for the first time since 2006.
- Emma Chard, a senior at Foss High in Tacoma, broke a meet record Saturday in her home pool at the Falcon Relays, according to the Tacoma News Tribune. Chard’s win in the 100-yard freestyle (52.74 seconds) eclipsed the mark set by South Kitsap’s Rosie Zimsen in 1986 (52.93 seconds). Chard also recorded the fastest time in the 200 individual medley (2:10.64) since 2002.