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The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

November 21, 2013 at 4:00 AM

The Medley girls swimming blog | Week 9

By Doug Drowley | Special to The Seattle Times

Lions’ roar growing stronger in girls competition

The girls state meets may be in the rearview mirror this week, but that doesn’t mean the ladies are done in the pool for the year – at least, not all of them.

Yes, the boys turned out beginning Monday for the first day of practice across Washington. Boys swim teams will prepare and point toward their state meets next February. But in the Metro League, it’s a co-ed season. So, the girls still are in the mix through the Metro League championship meet that takes place a week prior to the boys Sea-King Districts.

“Really, it’s a pretty big deal,” Lakeside coach Sally Mingarelli said. “The co-ed championships always feel like a bigger deal, even, than districts.”

Mingarelli’s girls squad finished a close second to Mercer Island, which won its fifth consecutive girls 3A title last Saturday. Going into the final event, the 4×100 relay, the Lions were close enough to make the championship final heat matter.

OK, you might say. But why is that such a big deal?

Lakeside and the rest of the Metro League girls teams, save for Bainbridge Island (which was third at state), compete at state after only five weeks of training. Because of the co-ed season, the Metro girls don’t have a full Fall season to get ready leading into state.

“My goal is for the Lakeside girls to win a state title,” Mingarelli said. “I believe it will happen someday.”

Greg Colby’s Bainbridge teams choose not to compete for the Metro title. The Spartans swim a traditional Fall schedule, which this season included a dual meet victory over Mercer Island early on.

Colby said in discussions he’s had with coaches in the league, about half would consider a more traditional schedule for the Metro girls. But the critical mass isn’t there to make the change.

One big reason for the co-ed season? Money. It costs to rent pools. But combining the girls and boys, pool rentals are cut in half for schools.

“The kids really like the co-ed season, too,” Mingarelli said.

Any disadvantage the season may present, Mingarelli’s teams are getting  closer to the Islanders. Mercer Island scored less than 300 points in a state meet last Saturday for the first time in three years, and the Lions got beat just 296-279.

Mercer Island coach Chauntelle Johnson knows full well to be wary of the Lions. The Lakeside boys have won the last two state titles after taking big defeats from the Islanders at districts.

“Lakeside is good. If anyone can attest to that, it’s me,” said Johnson, who didn’t want to speak about winning any titles until after the final relay. “I don’t want to jinx it. Not with this team.”

Just don’t expect the Lions to fade away any time soon, either.

Eastern invasion

Yes, Pullman pulled off the feat that no girls team in any classification had since Eastmont in 1990. The Greyhounds won a state title on Saturday, in 2A.

What shouldn’t get lost in the accomplishment, however, is this note: Three of the top 8 team finishers actually came from the East side of the Cascades. For much of Saturday’s finals, Ellensburg (which finished fourth) and West Valley (Yakima) (eighth) were battling in the Top 4.

In fact, had Pullman faltered, it looked briefly as if Ellensburg might get it done instead. Ellensburg finished with 188 points, only 16 back of the Greyhounds winning total of 204.

Sprint Lanes

  •  Bellevue’s Kim Williams, a double winner in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, was named the 3A swimmer of the meet for the second consecutive year.
  •  The 4A swimmer of the meet competition not only was the closest anyone could remember, with Richland’s Lisa Bratton edging out Gig Harbor senior Carolyn McCann, their point totals (based on times, finishes in individual events and points awarded from them) of 337 and 335 were the two highest ever in Washington.
  •  Taylor McCoy of Pullman was the only double winner at the 2A meet (200 IM, 100 back), and she was the swimmer of the meet. More intriguing, at least for Greyhound fans, McCoy is just a freshman.
  • Foss senior Emma Chard not only came within .01 of a second of eclipsing the 3A meet record in the 100 freestyle, in winning she became the first girl to beat Meadowdale’s Anna Keane in any individual event at state since Keane was second in the 100 free as a freshman. In between, Keane won five titles (three 50 frees, two 100 frees).

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

Wheaton College (Ill.) – Kayla Roberson, Inglemoor

Yale – Heidi VanderWel, Monroe

Know a swimmer who has committed to a college? Email Doug Drowley at ketlet6032@outlook.com.

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