Marysville Pilchuck swimmer Hannah Taylor, who rewrote the Tomahawk record book as a freshman, spent her junior year training in Tacoma. But when her senior season was approaching, Taylor decided she wanted to return to Marysville and the Tomahawks' swimming team.
"I wanted to finish it out where I started," Taylor said. "I missed it here."
"Here" is Marysville Pilchuck, where Taylor burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2009. She owns every Tomahawk swimming record except the 100 breaststroke.
Taylor moved south to swim year round in the Tacoma area after her sophomore year. She attended Gig Harbor, but didn't swim for her school team. Eventually, Taylor decided that she wanted to come back to Marysville and once again swim for MP head coach Jaci Legore Hodgins.
For a look at the best local swim times, click here.
Which was absolutely fine with Hodgins.
"She always knew she could come back," said Hodgins, who now coaches the Tomahawks and Marysville Getchell Chargers' swimming team.
Now that she's returned, Taylor's picked up right where she left off. This season Taylor has one of the top five times in the state in almost every individual event, including the fastest times in the 100 butterfly (57.30 seconds) and the 200 freestyle (1:54.94).
It probably shouldn't be surprising, since Taylor has been swimming in the Marysville pool since she was a baby. She also has a genetic advantage. Her mother Christy Taylor, an assistant coach for the Marysville swim teams, went to the University of Arizona on a swimming scholarship.
"Everything's been falling into place pretty well," Hodgins said. "Now we're just going to see how well."
Hannah Taylor acknowledges that swimming has been an instrumental part of her life. She played soccer for a little bit when she was younger, but eventually gave it up to focus on swimming year round. While it can be physically exhausting, Taylor can't see herself doing anything else.
"I've been swimming my whole life," she said. "It's definitely a lot of work, but I really enjoy it."
Taylor's contribution to the Marysville teams isn't just in the pool. Hodgins said the senior, who has committed to swim at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas where she wants to be an engineering major, is not only an excellent student, but also a great motivator for her fellow swimmers.
"She's just a fun person to have around," Hodgins said. "She's a high quality person."
When Taylor returned to the Marysville swim team, it had grown quite a bit since she had last been there. The addition of Marysville Getchell High School created a whole other swimming team. The two Marysville schools have embraced a cooperative program, which means they share the same pool and the same coaches.
Including Christy Taylor and Hodgins, who has coached at Marysville Pilchuck for 21 years and served as the head coach for the past 19 years. Hodgins, who teaches health and fitness, got moved to Marysville Getchell with about half of Marysville Pilchuck's population when the school opened in 2010.
"It's fun to still be able to coach the Tomahawks," Hodgins said. "It's fun being a Tomahawk/Charger. It's a good combo."
Hodgins leads both teams – including Hannah Taylor and her final postseason push – into this week's 3A District tournament. The preliminaries start Thursday, with the finals scheduled for Saturday morning at 11 at Marysville Pilchuck High School. Taylor is looking to return to the state tournament for the first time since her sophomore year.
She finished third in the 200 individual medley in her first two years at the 4A state tournament. Due to some reclassification in Wesco last year, the Tomahawks will now participate in the 3A tournament.
"We expect her to do very well," Hodgins said. "It's going to be really exciting to see."
Taylor, who said her best events are the 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, really wants to go out on top. Now that she's back at Marysville Pilchuck, she wants to bring a little hardware home for her school.
"I really just want to win state," Taylor said. "Finish it out strong. It's senior year, so you have to have a little fun."
District swim and dive at a glance
NW District 1 4A Meet
When: Swim prelims, Thursday, 5 p.m.; swim finals, Saturday, 11 a.m.; dive prelims, Friday, 5 p.m.; dive finals, Saturday, 11 a.m.
Where: Swim at Kamiak H.S.; Dive at Mariner H.S.
NW District 1 3A Meet
When: Swim prelims, Friday, 5 p.m.; swim finals, Saturday, 4 p.m.; dive prelims, Thursday,
4 p.m.; dive finals, Saturday, 4 p.m.
Where: Marysville Pilchuck H.S.; Dive at Mariner H.S. (on Thursday)
NW District 1 2A Meet
When: Swim prelims, Friday, 3 p.m.; swim finals, Saturday, 3 p.m.
Where: Fidalgo Pool, Anacortes
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