By David Krueger Herald Writer
FEDERAL WAY — There was very little Archbishop Murphy didn’t win during Saturday’s finals of the 2A swim and dive championship.
Wildcats’ senior Alec Barnard won all four of his events — and set state meet records in all of them in the process — and was named the top swimmer of the meet, Archbishop Murphy head coach Mike McCloskey was given the 2A coach of the year award and the Wildcats were the state all-academic champions.
But all that was second for Archbishop Murphy, which had a fantastic showing from Barnard and Co. as the Wildcats defeated Sehome for the first time in five years to win the 2A state swim and dive team championship Saturday afternoon at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
“We knew what we had to do and we just went and did it,” Barnard said. “That’s where all the practice comes in. It pays off in meets like this.”
Barnard set meet records in the 50 freestyle (21.45 seconds) and 100 butterfly (50.24). In the latter race, where he got an All-American consideration time, Barnard broke his own record set last year. His points moved the Wildcats to first place for the first time in the meet, 15 points ahead of Sehome (118-103).
Archbishop Murphy did not relinquish the lead.
“The secret for us was the training all season. These kids have done it since last year,” McCloskey said. “A year ago at state they set a goal and they went home, they did the work and they came back.”
Barnard was also on both relay teams that set state meet records, the 200 freestyle (1:28.50) and 400 freestyle (3:14.26).
The top individual honor is based on a point system with every time in each event having a corresponding number of points that goes toward a swimmer’s overall total.
“That’s a neat cherry on top of his high-school career,” McCloskey said.
Barnard also got plenty of help from his teammates. Sophomore Stephen Boden won the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle, which became a two-man race with Boden’s teammate, and Barnard’s younger brother, Austin Barnard.
Boden beat out Barnard in the 500, finishing in 4:36.26 — another new state meet record. Boden, who was also on the Wildcats’ winning relay teams, thinks Archbishop Murphy won another, unofficial race.
“I think we were the first team here,” Boden said. “Just sitting out there waiting for the pool to open. We were excited. We got up early. I bet a lot of us didn’t get a lot of sleep last night thinking about today.”
The younger Barnard was also on the 200 and 400 relay teams and got a pair of second place individual finishes in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.
Senior Hunter Cosgrove got a pair of third-place individual finishes and was on the 400 relay team that clinched the win, helping fulfill somewhat of a prophecy from years ago.
“I remember four years ago after the state meet and (Alec Barnard) won the 200 freestyle his freshman year,” McCloskey said. “We were graduating a good group of people and we didn’t know who was coming back. His little brother was two years behind. I said, ‘Alec, he’ll be here when you’re a junior. All we’ve got to do is find two more people.’ And this kid standing next to him goes, ‘I’m going to be there too! I can do breaststroke.’ Well that was Stephen Boden, a two-time state champion individually today. And then Hunter Cosgrove, last year, showed up and that was the missing link.”
Another big boost to the Wildcats’ efforts came from their divers. Archbishop Murphy had three divers finish in the top eight to collect 39 points that proved to be vital in the final team standings.
“The key for us was the diving,” McCloskey said. “I’ve got to hand it to the divers. That’s a nerve-wracking event. … The divers came through, we got 39 points out of diving and for us that was the difference in the meet.”
Elliott Forde led the Archbishop Murphy divers with a second place finish (342.25 points). Senior Steve Kane finished sixth with 307.25 points and Rory Krueger was eighth with 280.45 points.
“I feel great,” Forde said. “I know that I played a part helping Archbishop Murphy get first in state.”
After the diving a win in the 200 freestyle relay over Sehome (237 points) all but locked up the state title for the Wildcats. But it wasn’t official until the final event, which Archbishop Murphy (267) won — even though all they had to do was not get disqualified — to officially clinch the team title.
McCloskey just told his kids to swim safely, with clean exchanges.
“We were told to do safe starts and not DQ,” Boden said. “We were just trying to be safe on the starts but aggressive in the water.”
“We had a lot of fun on our relays,” Alec Barnard said. “That one was just play it safe. We all made sure to do that. We wanted to win. … I think once we got in there and Hunter led it off and we got it going we were all going for it.”
When the Wildcats exited the pool afterwards, they knew they were state champions.
“A lot of hard work over the last year and it all paid off. We did what we set out to do,” Boden said. “The divers did amazing. It was just a good all-around meet from everybody. It was just a perfect meet. We all swam well. It was a great meet from everyone and it was a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Said McCloskey: “It’s nice to have it done. We knew coming in we had the pieces in place but you still have to do it. They didn’t just do it they topped anything I could have imagined.”
At King County Aquatic Center, Federal Way
Team scores: 1. Archbishop Murphy 267, 2. Sehome 237, 3. Anacortes 197, 4. Steilacoom 179, 5. Hockinson 156, 6. Aberdeen 127, 7. Lake Washington 114, 8. Pullman 106, 9. West Valley 101, 10. Squalicum 79, Klahowya 77, 12. Selah 66, 12. Lynden 66, 14. Lindbergh 60, 15. Port Angeles 54, 16. Naches Valley 54, 17. Sammamish 49, 18. North Kitsap 44, 19. Capital 38, 19. Mark Morris 38, 21. Prosser 36, 22. Sumner 34, 23. Kingston 30, 23. Washington 30, 25. Bellingham 16, 26. River Ridge 12, 27. Woodland 11, 27. Sequim 11, 29. Olympic 10, 30. Burlington-Edison 9, 30. Cashmere 9, 32. Cheney 6.
2A State tournament local finishers
200 freestyle–2. Austin Barnard (Archbishop Murphy) 1:47.03; 200 IM–1. Stephen Boden (Archbishop Murphy) 1:56.38; 50 freestyle–1.Alec Barnard (Archbishop Murphy) 21.45; Diving–2. Elliott Forde (Archbishop Murphy) 342.25, 6. Steve Kane (Archbishop Murphy) 307.25, 8. Rory Krueger 280.45; 100 butterfly–1. Alec Barnard (Archbishop Murphy) 50.24; 100 freestyle–3. Hunter Cosgrove (Archbishop Murphy) 48.89; 500 freestyle–1. Stephen Boden (Archbishop Murphy) 4:36.26, 2. Austin Barnard (Archbishop Murphy) 4:41.88; 200 freestyle relay–1. Archbishop Murphy (Stephen Boden, Austin Barnard, Alec Barnard, Alex Walczak) 1:28.50; 100 backstroke–3. Hunter Cosgrove (Archbishop Murphy) 53.38; 400 freestyle relay–1. Archbishop Murphy (Hunter Cosgrove, Stephen Boden, Austin Barnard, Alec Barnard) 3:14.26.