1 Jon Cook is ready for his “victory lap.” The Jackson senior already has turned in a dominant high school career, winning Class 4A state championships in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke events in 2016 and 2017. He set state-meet records in both races last season to earn 4A Swimmer of the Meet honors for the second straight year. Cook has committed to continue his swimming career at Stanford University, so this winter he can focus on “living in the moment,” Timberwolves coach Drew Whorley said. “In my mind, he’s got nothing to prove. I want Jon to take a victory lap, enjoy this (season) with no pressure or expectations. He’s already done what he needs to do. (Committing to Stanford) has taken a weight off of him. But I don’t think Jon will stop getting better until he retires from swimming.”
2 Timberwolves eye another top-five state finish. Last season the Timberwolves finished fourth at the Class 4A state meet, and they return the vast majority of the swimmers who helped them to that placing. Cook obviously will have a huge impact on Jackson’s fate, but the Timberwolves also have a talented supporting cast that includes Justin Limberg, Erik Anderson, Neil Thai and Bryan Phung (all of whom competed at the state meet a year ago), and senior returnee Quinn Greninger, who swam for the Timberwolves as a freshman. “I’m excited for this year,” Whorley said. “We have returning talent up top, and from what I see so far, I think we have depth. This is a versatile group.”
3 Kamiak hopes to place high at state. The Knights finished 10th in the team standings at last season’s Class 4A state meet. “Wesco 4A will come down to Kamiak and Jackson at the district meet,” Kamiak coach Chris Erickson said. “Both schools should be top-10 at state — I am hoping for top-five for (us). Lake Stevens will (also) be in the running.” The Knights will be led by sophomore Maxwell Fang, who placed fifth in the 200 freestyle and helped the Knights’ 200 freestyle relay team to a fourth-place finish at last season’s state meet. The rest of that relay squad — Walter Limm, Alex Kirby and Brian Park — also returns. “(We) have more on the depth side,” Erickson said. “Our relays should be in the top five at state.” Erickson is also excited about the potential of freshmen twins Vlad and Slava Gilszmer. “Chris has a lot of speed with Fang, Limm and Park,” Lake Stevens coach Brady Dykgraaf said. “He has a great program that builds athletes, too, so many kids we don’t even know about now will end up having some great successes at the end of the season as well.”
4 Other Wesco teams have talent, experience. “There is a ton of top-end speed in our league,” Dykgraaf said. “Eric (Smith) at Cascade always has a ton of fantastic sprinters, so there is always a Cascade relay gunning for our district’s state allocations, and programs like Monroe and Mount Vernon are growing and growing, which is exciting to see at the end of the season when there are all sorts of new names at the district finals from excellent programs like those.” Dykgraaf said he believes Glacier Peak “could be a sleeper. Rob (Serviss) is a fantastic high school coach that gets kids motivated to swim, and it shows. He has some fantastic new swimmers like Matthew King, and some great seniors like Andrew Meneses, who always looks great at the end of the year. It’ll be fun to watch that team step up this year and give the district a run for its money.” Lake Stevens has a nice core, led by state-meet competitors Carter Walles, Alejandro Flores, Coleson Wynne, Quade McKenzie and Gideon Marlatt. Shorewood, which placed fourth at last season’s 3A state meet, should be strong again, led by state-meet placers Anders Stenfjord and Cole Nouwens. Cascade’s Joseph Hofman and Lake Stevens’ Riley Koon will enter the season as the conference’s top divers.
5 Archbishop Murphy looks to sustain its run of success. Despite taking just four swimmers to last season’s 2A state meet, the Wildcats finished sixth in the team standings. They return their two top swimmers — Ryan Price, who took second place in the 200 individual medley and seventh in the 100 butterfly, and William Walters, who placed fourth in the 200 IM and fifth in the 100 backstroke.
—Doug Flanagan, Herald Writer