Pries wins in spite of decision
Emerald Ridge senior wins district titles, advances to state after shunning club
By Doug Drowley
Special to The Seattle Times
Alana Pries barely was challenged last Saturday evening at Curtis High.
The Emerald Ridge senior became a two-time West Central District champion in dominating fashion, winning the two fastest races of the meet – the 50 and 100 freestyles.
Her time of 24.12 seconds in the 50 was nearly a half-second faster than runner-up Jessica Miller of Tahoma. Her 52.72 in the 100 out-distanced Miller again, this time by more than a second (53.84).
Pries next will compete at the 4A state meet at King County Aquatic Center on Nov. 14 and 15. The challenges likely will be tougher that weekend. Yet maybe not as difficult as the decision Pries made eight months ago.
Back in March, Pries chose to discontinue swimming a club schedule. She took a long break from the pool, until this fall.
“Turning out for high school was the first time I’d been back in the pool since March,” Pries said. “The break, I think it was good for me.”
Inevitably, there was work to be done. After six months off, Pries was not swimming to the standards she’d set for herself over the last several years.
“I’m finally getting back to my times,” Pries said just after accepting her award for the 100 title.
Her decision about club swimming had another effect, one that has clouded Pries’ immediate future. Pries doesn’t yet know where she will go to college.
She explained that once she quit her club team, schools mostly stopped calling.
Pries definitely wants to swim in college. Before the big decision in March, she drew interest from San Jose State among others.
“I will start contacting schools soon,” Pries said. “That probably will be where any regret comes in for me.”
Pries said she is looking at the possibility of attending Washington State. She will look at a few others, as well. But first, there is the little matter of the state meet in just over a week.
“For quitting club and stuff, this has been just a great way to finish off her senior season, I have to say,” Emerald Ridge coach Susie Miller said.
What lies beyond, those are decisions for another day.