Kentridge’s DePriest gets extra work in ahead of State
WCD 200 free champ prepares while rest of districts compete this weekend
By Doug Drowley
Special to The Seattle Times
Dillon DePriest is back to work this week.
The Kentridge sophomore has things to accomplish before the 4A state swim championships kick off at the King County Aquatic Center on Friday, February 20.
The West Central District champion in the 200-yard freestyle, DePriest has extra days to lower his time from the 1 minute, 46.91 seconds that won him that district title last Saturday at Curtis High. The District 3 (WCD) meet was the only one that was completed last weekend.
The rest of the state’s district meets happen this Friday and Saturday, including the intriguing District 1 competition at Snohomish Aquatics Center. That’s where Kamiak and Jackson will see each other again for the first time since the Timberwolves ended the Knights streak of 103 consecutive dual-meet victories two weeks ago.
The District 1 Finals are set for 10 a.m. on Saturday. That meet will be followed by the 3A District 1 meet, also at Snohomish.
Meanwhile, the always competitive 3A Sea-King (District 2) meet will be happening at Mary Wayte Pool on Mercer Island. A week ago, the Bellevue Wolverines snapped Mercer Island’s string of 15 consecutive years with at least a share of the Kingco Conference title.
That multi-school victory came on the heels of Bellevue’s Kingco dual-meet championship win, also over the Islanders. The Kingco league meet is unique in that all of its schools compete against each other – meaning there is only one champion amongst the 4A, 3A and 2A schools.
The 3A Sea-King District meet will bring Bellevue and Mercer Island together with their Metro League counterparts for the rematch, and final tune-up before the state meet Feb. 20-21. The swim Finals begin at 5:30 p.m.
For DePriest, though, and the rest of the 4A WCD competitors (the 3A District 3 meet does take place this weekend, at Hazen) that advanced to state, it is a work week with no formal competition.
The Charger knows there is some time to drop if he is to reach his goals for next weekend.
“I’m hoping to get Top 3 finishes at state,” DePriest said.
A year ago, the third-place finisher in the 200 free was Aaron Elhajj of Newport, who swam 1:44.34 in the championship final. That would mean DePriest needs about a 2 1/2-second drop from his district-winning time.
DePriest knows what he needs to work on to get there.
“My walls,” DePriest said. “If I had gone after that, who knows what would have been (at districts). But you can’t look back. It’s like the Seahawks.”
A year ago at state, DePriest finished seventh in each of his individual events – the 50 and 100 freestyles. DePriest will be back in the 100 free along with the 200.
To reach a third-place finish, DePriest will have to jump a couple of returnees from a year ago. Kamiak seniors Eben Schumann and Shelby Lee, Newport senior Andrew Pana and the man who beat DePriest at districts last Saturday, Rogers senior Mitchell Crossen, all finished just ahead of the Kentridge swimmer a year ago.
Schumann was third in 2014 and is the top returning placer. He swam 47.66 in the final last February. DePriest went 47.84 for his second-place finish at districts at Curtis High.
DePriest looks forward to his slightly altered state lineup, with the 200 replacing the 50.
“I just felt like I had a stronger race in the 200 this year,” DePriest said. “In the 50, there just is so much competition. Maybe I’ll come back next year and get that one.”