Winning Championships swims in Daughters’ DNA
By Doug Drowley
Special to The Seattle Times
By some measure, the Liberty Patriots first girls state swimming title was a necessary next step – at least for one participant.
Coach Kris Daughters has spent 18 years teaching and coaching at the school. But until the Patriots runaway win at the 2A meet last Saturday, she didn’t have a championship on her resume. That was something of a hole, considering Daughters’ family ties.
“I needed a title,” Daughters said, “just to hang with the family.”
See, Daughters is the granddaughter of legendary coach Ray Daughters.
Her grandfather coached 50,000 swimmers in Washington state from 1916 to 1964, when he finally retired from the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle. But Ray Daughters went further. From 1932 to 1964, Ray Daughters was involved with virtually every U.S. Olympic swim team in some fashion or another.
He coached men and women who set 31 world records, 301 American records, won 74 national championships and claimed eight Olympic medals, four of them gold.
Ray Daughters’ Olympic success began with the Los Angeles games of 1932 – and Helene Madison, who he found as a 14-year-old swimmer at a Green Lake Swim Carnival in the 1920s. Daughters coached Madison to three Olympic golds.
Four years later, Madison’s former teammate at WAC, Olive McKean, won a bronze as part of the 400-freestyle relay team. And now his granddaughter has her own championship – also in record fashion. The Patriots scored a 2A meet record 348 points to beat runner-up Sehome, and Kris Daughters’ own alma mater and coach Don Helling at 188.
The 160-point margin of victory also could be the largest in girls state meet history. The WIAA began girls swimming state meets in 1973.
The largest margin anyone could remember came in 2007, when Kennedy beat Juanita, 310-225. The largest boys margin is much wider – Mercer Island beat runner-up Mount Rainier 475-208 in 2009, the second year in a row the Islanders had won by more than 200 points.
“We’ve always had good success at state,” Kris Daughters said of her individuals. “They just have this tradition of doing well at state. But I’ve never even been in the Top 4 (team-wise) with the girls.”
But now, she’s joined her grandpa with a championship of her own.
Pries gets her title
Emerald Ridge senior Alana Pries quit club swimming in March. In three previous state 4A meets, she’d never finished higher than fifth in the 50 free. She had two of those, and a sixth. In the 100 free, she had two thirds and a second.
On Saturday at the 4A meet, Pries was the No. 2 qualifier out of prelims behind Newport’s Elisa Fang in both events.
“I consider myself more of a 100 swimmer,” Pries said.
Yet it was in the 50 free where Pries finally broke through. She out-touched Fang for her first state title.
“That was so unreal,” Pries said. “I was watching myself finish. I couldn’t tell if I had out-touched her.”
She did, though Fang returned the favor and beat Pries (who was second) in the 100.
Williams is a winner
Kentlake senior Laura Williams had the goal, and the plan.
She then went out and executed the plan to achieve the goal – a 4A state title in the 200 individual medley.
“I just really wanted to win my senior year,” said Williams, whose specialty – the breast stroke – comes as the third of the four race legs. “I decided I needed to go out with them and surprise everybody. I’m usually nervous about going out too fast. But it helped me finish, and I pulled away in the breast.”
Williams entered with just the fourth-best prelim time of 2:09.66. But swimming in Lane 6, she beat higher seeds Nicole Limberg of Jackson, Kaycee Simpson of Stadium and Chloe Limargo of Jackson for the title.