FEDERAL WAY — Mary Clarke ended her high school swimming career with the redeeming swim she was chasing after.
The Snohomish freestyle star broke through during the 100-yard freestyle, coming up with a coveted first-place finish at the Class 3A state swim and dive championships at the King County Aquatic Center on Saturday.
Clarke, a senior, raced the 100 freestyle in an All-American consideration time of 50.78 seconds, one-hundredth of a second quicker than runner-up Gracyn Kehoe of Mercer Island.
After stockpiling a state title and second-place finish in the 50 freestyle and two second-place medals in the 100 freestyle during the last two seasons, Clarke out-touched Kehoe to cap off her career run as a Panther.
She took second in the 200 freestyle to Kehoe earlier in the day, finishing 0.27 seconds behind at 1:50.18.
“Coming off that 200 … I was focusing on the positives of it,” Clarke said. “I wanted more from it, but at the same time, it was my best time. I was happy with the swim itself, and the girl I raced is an incredible competitor. … (The 100) was just so close, it was kinda of like my redemption race, because the last two years I’ve gotten out-touched in the 100 free.
“So, to look up at that board and see the number one next to my time, I was just so excited. I kinda shocked myself because it was so close. That’s what happens in swimming, but it was just a blast.”
The 6-foot-2 Clarke finished one-hundredth of a second off the first-place pace in the 100 freestyle at the last two state meets.
“I’m really happy,” Clarke said. “I feel like this meet was a really good show of all my hard work, and it was just really fun to do it with these other girls. One of the other girls on our relay team (Grace Andrews) is a senior, and we’ve been through these last four years together. It’s a little sad because it’s ending, but there’s so much to look forward to. I’m just so excited.”
Panthers head coach Jenny Service was also ecstatic.
“This is her redemption era for sure,” Service said. “She’s had some amazing swims the last few years. But being out-touched at state a couple times has been nagging on her. To watch that finish, for her to stretch out long like she is, and win by that one-hundredth was a redemption.”
Shorecrest takes 8th-best team score
The Scots had a deep lineup coming into the state meet.
Shorecrest earned three top-seven finishes and finished eighth in the team standings with 96 overall points.
The 200 medley relay squad of seniors Miranda Thompson and Owan Fralick and juniors Aila Howson and Quinn Whorley placed fifth in a competitive race at 1:51.68, while Whorley took fourth in the in the 500 freestyle with a 5:10.42 finish.
Howson added a seventh-place medal in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:06.36.
“It was important for us to set the tone (with the 200 medley),” Shorecrest head coach Bill Murray said. “It’s really hard for them to come back through the last few days of giving everything they have into it. I’m super proud of the way they performed today, and I think they have a lot that they can build onto it.”
Other notable finishes
Shorewood freshman Daniel Buchholz took sixth in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.60 seconds.
Monroe sophomore Madelyn Clark placed fourth in the 1-meter diving event on Thursday with a score of 207.10.