By Doug Drowley | Special to The Seattle Times
Versatile Bratton picks Texas A&M, ready to defend titles
The big decision out of the way, Lisa Bratton now can focus her attention on the next three weeks. They are big weeks for the Richland High senior.
“It’s kinda freaky, crazy to think about,” said Bratton, who begins her final run to a state high school swim meet this week when the Bombers begin their post-season. “I can look back on my high school experience and see how far I’ve come.”
Bratton has developed into one of the most versatile swimmers in the state. She will try to defend both her 200 individual medley (2:01.53) and 100-yard backstroke (54.85 seconds) titles when she gets to Federal Way for the state meet Nov. 15 and 16.
But Bratton recently completed the “Iron Woman” gauntlet – getting her state-qualifying time (and a fifth school record) by swimming the lead leg of the 400 freestyle relay against Wenatchee this past weekend – and qualifying for every individual event in 4A.
Last Friday, Bratton also made her collegiate choice known. Bratton chose Texas A&M over Auburn, Wisconsin and Tennessee.
“I knew I wanted a really strong, competitive swim team,” said Bratton, who wants to study engineering while swimming for the Aggies. “To do that, you kinda have to leave Washington. I really wasn’t interested in living in California. I like to vacation there, but couldn’t see myself going to college there. And I actually have some family down in Texas. It just kinda felt comfortable.”
Bratton has been comfortable in the pool for years. She began swimming at age 8, but it wasn’t until she was 12 or 13 that she picked swimming over the myriad other sports she also participated in as a youngster.
“She really blossomed after her freshman year,” Richland coach Kathy Piper said. “She had a good growth spurt. Her height is to her advantage because she’s so strong.”
At 5-foot-9, Bratton is among the taller competitors at most of her high school meets. But the Richland record-holder in the 100 breaststroke, 100 free, 50 free, 200 IM and 100 back doesn’t always feel tall.
“I go to national level meets and I am on the short side,” Bratton said. “That’s one of the things as you grow, though, is feeling strong in the water.”
Bratton hopes she feels strong in a couple of weeks; strong enough to defend her titles in races she has actually only swam once so far this season. Bratton must swim the 200 IM and 100 back at the upcoming district meet, though.
“That will be the second time (this season),” Bratton said. “I don’t know. I just swam what coach needed me to swim.”
- The Kingco Championships are set for this Friday and Saturday at the University of Washington. The meet is unique in that it pits 4A, 3A and 2A teams against each other for a single league title. This weekend, all three defending state team champions will be in attendance, as well – Newport (4A), Mercer Island (3A) and Lake Washington (2A).
- Federal Way senior Kenna Ramey got her post-season off to a quick start last Saturday at the SPSL 4A meet. Ramey broke her own meet records in the 50 free and 100 butterfly with times of 24.06 (24.10 previous record) and 57.21 seconds (58.87).
- Gig Harbor’s Carolyn McCann won the 50 free and 100 fly at the Narrows 4A meet. McCann will swim the 200 IM and 100 breast at the West Central District meet this coming weekend, meaning those are the events she will compete in at state, as well.
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
Texas A&M – Lisa Bratton, Richland
WSU – Hannah Bruggman, Wenatchee
Know a swimmer who has committed to a college? Email Doug Drowley at firstname.lastname@example.org.