McCoy, Pullman just live to race
By Doug Drowley
Special to The Seattle Times
For the first time in 25 years, west is chasing east – at least at the girls 2A swimming level. That has happened because the Pullman Greyhounds won the 2A state title last November, the first school from east of the Cascades to win the state title at any classification since Eastmont in 1990.
Pullman pulled off the feat behind a Swimmer of the Meet performance from freshman Taylor McCoy and a victory in the meet’s final event – the 400-yard freestyle relay.
McCoy is back.
So are most of the Greyhounds relay teams in seniors Courtney Larsen, Rose Jao, Rachel Sun and sophomore Caroline Brock.
But exactly what Pullman’s prospects are for a repeat, coach Ed Davis knows, may not lie with his team.
“Everyone knows what Liberty has,” Davis said. “Our kids, they know all about Liberty. That’s the best way.”
Led by University of San Diego-bound Makenna Briggs, the Patriots have dropped from 3A to 2A this season. Liberty finished fifth in the state in 3A a year ago.
“Honestly, for us, I like it,” Davis said of Liberty’s move. “It’s great for us at 2A.”
Davis is all about raising the competition level at the smallest classification to have a state swim meet. Then again, so is his star.
“She doesn’t want the easy win,” Davis said of McCoy. “She loves to race. I think if she knew ahead of time what Makenna was racing, she’d ask to be in those.”
McCoy was nothing of a surprise for Pullman, even a year ago.
The sophomore began swimming competitively at the age of 8 for the Gold Medal Swim Club. That team was based out of Moscow, Idaho, just across the border from Pullman, until a year ago.
A growing contingent of Pullman area swimmers, though, prompted the club to move its base of operation into Washington and the Pullman Aquatics Center.
For the Greyhounds, that may be a boon for years to come.
“A lot of the girls joined as of last year,” McCoy said. “Our team really loves to race, just getting up there and going.”
McCoy is an all-around swimmer, and has gotten in the pool for virtually every one of the eight individual events. She believes she is more of a sprinter than anything else, however.
“I definitely have my favorites, but I like them all,” said McCoy, who not long ago began a 500 free race by going a blistering 56 seconds over the first 100. “I definitely dropped time, but slowed toward the end.”
She is the defending state 2A champion in the 200 individual medley and the 100 back, two races she counts among those “favorites.” Winning two titles as a freshman wasn’t expected, McCoy said, but then again …
“I was really excited,” she said. “I knew I could win. Age doesn’t matter. (Olympic gold medalist) Missy Franklin wasn’t not going to win just because she was 16.”
Should McCoy decide to defend her titles, she’s likely to run into Briggs in at least one of the events – the 200 IM. Briggs swam second in the event a year ago to Bellevue’s Kim Williams, and did so in an all-America consideration time of 2:04.71.
McCoy’s winning 2A time was 2:05.73.
Not that McCoy will shy away from the challenge.
“You have to trust the training,” McCoy said. “You just have to go out there and do it.”