Three years, three state crowns.
Snohomish High School junior Kayli Kersavage claimed her third consecutive Class 3A diving state title Saturday night during the swim and dive state championships at King County Aquatic Center.
“It’s amazing,” Snohomish dive coach Marc Hughes said. “… To see a three-peat is just incredible.”
Kersavage posted a winning score of 438.8 points, finishing more than 36 points ahead of Mercer Island freshman runner-up Brooke Andrews.
“We had a very, very tough top tier coming into this competition, … but she really came to compete,” Hughes said. “She knew that she had to compete in order to win, because she was being chased and it was a difficult field to beat.”
Entering the finals, Kersavage had posted an average score of 39 points per dive. She then averaged 42.3 points per dive over the final three rounds to seal the victory in style.
“Her prelims and semis were strong,” Hughes said. “We only had one dive that was just a little bit off. Everything else was really solid. But coming into the finals, she stepped it up a notch even more. These last three dives were just incredible.”
Kersavage has improved her state score each year.
As a freshman, Kersavage posted a score of 395.8 points and edged Squalicum’s Helene Synnott by the slimmest of margins, finishing just 0.15 points ahead of her district rival to capture the state crown. Last year, Kersavage posted a winning score of 423.15 points to beat then-senior Synnott by more than 19 points.
Kersavage then bettered her score again this year, posting her highest state total yet.
“She’s always been good at her bottoms (of her dives), but she’s been much better with her line and going into the water,” Hughes said of Kersavage’s biggest improvement this season. “That’s one of the things that Kayli just has above some of the divers. … It gives her a real clean entry.”
Kersavage’s winning score was the highest point total in a state meet since Marysville Getchell’s Brooke Wherley totaled 438.85 points to claim the 3A state title in 2014.
“When she steps on the board to compete, she’s got that competitive spirit that just steps up another (level),” Hughes said. “So it’s really cool to see her do that and see her compete like that.”
STANWOOD’S HAU DEFENDS HER BREASTSTROKE CROWN
Jetlynn Hau surprised herself with how fast she swam.
The Stanwood senior captured her second consecutive state title in the 100-yard breaststroke with a personal-best All-American automatic qualifying time of 1 minute, 2.04 seconds. It was the third-fastest time in 3A state meet history.
Hau finished 1.12 seconds ahead of Bainbridge freshman runner-up Emma Solseng and 2.77 seconds ahead of the third-place medalist.
“I surprised myself,” Hau said. “I didn’t think I could go that fast. I didn’t know my body could do that.”
It was the fourth top-three state medal in the breaststroke for Hau. She earned a pair of third-place finishes in the event as a freshman and sophomore before capping her prep career with back-to-back breaststroke titles.
“I’m literally ecstatic,” she said. “I’m so happy. I mean, that’s all I was working for this whole season. And now that I have it, I’m really glad I get to end my senior season this way.”
Hau’s winning time was nearly two seconds faster than last year’s first-place time of 1:03.97, which gave her the first individual girls swimming state title in Stanwood program history.
“That’s her race,” Spartans coach Rita Peterson said. “She knows it, she has a natural feel for the water and she just gets in there and she goes after it. … That’s her stroke.”
Hau also took fourth place in the 200 individual medley with a personal-best time of 2:08.66. She placed seventh in the event each of the previous two seasons.
“I made sure (to) try extremely hard in the freestyle (leg), because that’s where people always get me,” Hau said. “So I dropped a lot of time there.”
Hau finishes her decorated Stanwood career as a two-time individual state champion and seven-time individual state medalist.
“Jetlynn has left a legacy for sure that’s going to outlast her name,” Peterson said. “It’s her attitude, the way that she enjoys being a part of the high school team. She’s fully involved in it. She’s out there and rooting for all the members of her team. … That’s the legacy that she leaves.”
SHOREWOOD FRESHMAN PLACES 2ND
Shorewood freshman Grace Lindberg took second place in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:51.51, finishing nearly 2.6 seconds behind Lakeside senior Nathalie Valdman. Lindberg also placed sixth in the 100 butterfly.
OTHER LOCAL MEDALISTS
A pair of Shorecrest relay teams earned state medals. Paige Moss, Anna Sargent, Aiko Beauchamp and Jiahui Zeng placed sixth in the 200 freestyle relay. Abigail Crum, Zeng, Moss and Marina Or took seventh in the 200 medley relay.
Snohomish sophomore Kendall Bensen placed sixth in the 100 backstroke and sophomore teammate Anna Kowalchyk took eighth in the 100 breaststroke. The Panthers finished ninth in the 3A team standings.
Meadowdale senior Grace Morgan placed eighth in the 500 freestyle.
In the 2A meet, Mountlake Terrace junior Tiffany Vuong took seventh in the 50 freestyle.