By Doug Drowley | Special to The Seattle Times
Predicting some history, just for fun
In swimming, there are no Top 10 rankings, polls or ratings that give fans of schools or individuals a chance to debate who are the best teams and/or competitors in different events.
In swimming, it’s simple. Debate is reduced to the clock. The lower the time, the better one finishes – and the better one’s team scores. This is the case whether swimming a dual meet or in a tournament format.
The biggest high school meet of the girls swimming season is set to begin for all classifications on Friday morning at the King County Aquatic Center. The state meet begins with the 4A preliminaries on Friday morning, followed by the 2A and 3A preliminaries.
The finals are set for Saturday.
And while there are no rankings, today I’d like to engage in a little… speculation. How, you may ask?
Swimmers have to qualify to participate in the state meet. That means every participant come into the preliminary rounds with a seed time that they’ve already posted.
Those times are used to determine in which lanes and heats the swimmers will compete on Friday. But more, they also provide a basis for an annual ritual of sorts among swim coaches – pre-scoring the meet.
Using those seed times, we can get an idea of what would happen if those seeding places hold up come Saturday. The top eight times from the 24 preliminary swims on Friday advance to the Championship Final. The next eight still score – as part of the ‘B’ Final.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at each of the classifications as scored from the state event “psych” sheets.
2A – This one pencils out to be the closest team race of the three meets this weekend. Pullman narrowly comes out on top, 219-205, over Port Angeles. Last year’s upstart champion, Lake Washington, finishes sixth with 141 points.
Should the Greyhounds pull off the feat, they would become the first girls swim team from east of the Cascades to win a Washington state title since Eastmont in 23 years. That is not the first in 2A, but the first period since Eastmont won back-to-back in 1989 and 1990.
And Pullman may be peaking at just the right time to accomplish the feat. The Hounds 400 free relay team broke a 10-year-old school record on Nov. 1 at the district meet in Ellensburg, going 3:53.12.
3A – By the seeding, four-time defending champ Mercer Island brings a 43-point advantage into the meet. The Islanders pencil out to score 308 points to out-distance Lakeside (265) and Bainbridge (256).
That total is down considerably from Mercer Island’s last two titles. The Islanders racked up a whopping 376 points a year ago, and 340 to win in 2011.
The Spartans from Bainbridge don’t believe it. Bainbridge beat Mercer Island earlier this season in a dual meet. Led by Shayla Archer in the 100-yard backstroke, the Spartans want to do what the Lakeside boys did last February – make up a deficit and win a title.
Archer will be among a strong field in the 200 intermediate medley that could swing a few points. But more so, Bainbridge comes in with the second-best qualifying time in the 200 free relay and the fourth-best seed time in the 400 free relay.
Should those teams rise, that could swing the meet.
4A – Based on seed times, the Newport Knights would defend their title won in 2012, scoring 210 points to defeat runners-up Gig Harbor and Skyline, both of which score 179.
That 31-point deficit is too close to call for the pursuers, actually.
A quick glance in the rear-view mirror illustrates the point. Just last February at the boys’ state meet, defending 3A champion Lakeside looked to be way out of the race after Friday’s prelims.
The Lions had lost to Mercer Island the previous week at Sea-King Districts by more than 50 points. After Friday’s prelims, the Lions faced a 52-point deficit by projected scoring. Yet Lakeside won come Saturday.
That should give the Tides and Spartans, and even Wenatchee (projected for 172 points), hope this coming weekend.
So what actually will happen on Friday and Saturday?
Keane makes her choice ahead of state
In the end, perhaps it was inevitable.
“I’ve kinda been in and out of Chicago for the last few years,” Meadowdale senior Anna Keane said. “I like the big city.”
Keane will spend the next four years of her life in Chicago, having committed to swim beginning next fall for Northwestern University there. She is the third Keane child to find their way to the city for their college experience.
Keane’s older sister Lisa graduated a few years back from Columbia. Her brother Michael is set to graduate next spring from the Illinois Institute of Technology. A few months later, Anna Keane will enter Northwestern.
She picked the Wildcats over her other finalist, Rice.
“Rice just didn’t feel as right for me,” Keane said. “They’re both such good schools, it comes down to nit-picky things.”
“I love cold weather, so I know what I am getting into,” Keane said. “And they are in the Big 10, which is a fast conference (to swim in). It all worked out perfectly.”
First things first, of course.
Keane has state titles in the 50 and 100 frees to defend at the 3A state meet that begins on Friday evening at King County Aquatic Center. She has won both events each of the last two years after finishing second in both races as a freshman.
Who’s going where?
Boise State – Monica Bottelberghe, Columbia River; Emma Chard, Foss
Cal Poly SLO – Caitlin Cox, Mercer Island; Sage Speak, Inglemoor
Michigan – Carolyn McCann, Gig Harbor
Northwestern – Anna Keane, Meadowdale
Texas A&M – Lisa Bratton, Richland
USC – Hannah Weiss, Mercer Island (does not swim for school)
Utah – Shayla Archer, Bainbridge
WSU – Hannah Bruggman, Wenatchee
Yale – Heidi VanderWel, Monroe
Know a swimmer who has committed to a college? Email Doug Drowley at firstname.lastname@example.org.