By Doug Drowley | Special to The Seattle Times
Newport looks to ride early successes to prize
Eric Bartleson found out quickly this fall that he wouldn’t be needing to worry about motivation with his Newport High girls swimming team.
The defending Class 4A champions would have no hangover from their 2012 success.
“The girls are really focused,” Bartleson said. “They showed that going out and beating Mercer Island in our dual meet for the first time in 13 years.”
That’s right, the four-time defending 3A champs, also out of the KingCo Conference, had taken down the Knights in a dual meet held every year early in the season so the teams can use the country club’s outdoor facility.
That pool has eight competition lanes, as opposed to the six at Mary Wayte Pool, meaning that two teams that boast squads well over 60 girls each every season can put more swimmers in the water.
The bonus for Newport – many of the Knights earned their state qualifying splits at that early dual meet. That has freed Bartleson up to play with lineups, and challenge his swimmers in events they won’t be swimming come state meet time.
“They were looking to beat Mercer Island,” Bartleson said of his team. “But if you’re going to beat Mercer Island, you have to swim that fast. It’s always been a traditional rival meet, and now we’re not in the same class. But it’s still a great rivalry for the girls.”
Dual meets are very different animals from the postseason, of course.
But that meet showed something. The Newport 400-yard freestyle relay, for instance, swam 3 minutes, 38 seconds. That was on September 12, and it was just one second off the Knights’ third-place state time of 3:37.55 from a season ago.
Newport won its title despite not winning a single individual or relay event at state. The Knights scored points in every event except diving.
It is that kind of depth that wins state titles.
“The goal is to win another team title,” Bartleson said. “The whole season is really kind of building toward that.”
Opposing coaches can see the depth forming again for Newport.
“They are good,” Bellevue coach Lisa Van Loben Sels said after her 3A Wolverines got within 24 points in their dual meet with Newport. “They are a repeat titlist in the making.”
With the likes of Lorea Gwo, Elisa Fang and Jenny Huo swimming well, the Knights may be set up to take home an individual title or two. Bartleson knows his team will be ready.
“The first week of practice is before school even starts,” Bartleson said. “There were no vacations, nobody missed. They are focused. They want another. The girls have a goal, can get that goal, and have the confidence of coming back knowing what it takes. It will be fun being there.”
McCann picks Michigan, gears up for State
Gig Harbor senior Carolyn McCann took the pressure off herself as she prepares to defend her 4A 100 breaststroke title, and tries to zero in on Richland’s Lisa Bratton in the 200 individual medley (McCann was second to Bratton in the event a year ago).
“Definitely,” said McCann, who chose the University of Michigan as her college choice on Sunday. “It feels so good to just have the decision made.”
McCann chose Michigan over Purdue, USC and California. Had she not made her decision, she was scheduled to visit Wisconsin this coming weekend.
“I just didn’t feel the need to,” McCann said. Over the summer, McCann had a club meet in Indianapolis, Indiana. While there, she took a road trip to see schools, among them Notre Dame and Michigan. She loved the Michigan campus, how big it was, everything.
“And I have a lot of family from Chicago,” McCann said. “It brought me back to my Midwest roots.”
McCann got her state splits in the 100 and 500 frees during a dual meet against Olympia last Thursday, giving her state qualifying times in all eight individual events, making her a member of the “Iron Woman” club.
“Carolyn can do any event she wants,” Newport coach Eric Bartleson said. “She is a multi-talented swimmer.”
McCann intends, though, on defending her title in the breaststroke and trying to best Bratton and others, among them potentially Newport’s Lorea Gwo, in the IM.
“It’ll be fun,” McCann said. “It’s going to be a good race for sure. A little competition is always a good thing.”
- Columbia River’s Monica Bottelberghe set a new meet record of 53.02 in the 100 freestyle at the Kelso Invite on Oct. 12. It was one of seven records set at the meet.
- Peninsula (3A) and Sumner (2A) remain unbeaten in the SPSL. Peninsula is 10-0 overall in duals, 7-0 in league. The Spartans are 8-0 and 7-0.
Who’s going where?
Michigan – Carolyn McCann, Gig Harbor
USC – Hannah Weiss, Mercer Island (does not swim for school)
Boise State – Monica Bottelberghe, Columbia River; Emma Chard, Foss
Utah – Shayla Archer, Bainbridge
Know a swimmer who has committed to a college? Email Doug Drowley at firstname.lastname@example.org.