Jackson girls swimming team is poised for another run at a state title

A year ago, the Jackson girls swimming team won a surprising, thrilling share of the Class 4A state championship.

How surprising? How thrilling?

“When we found ourselves atop the podium, that was as exciting and thrilling a journey as you can go through as a coach with a group of athletes,” Timberwolves coach Drew Whorley said. “It’s such an incredible experience to be part of that. It was just an all-time high last year. I’m still spun around from it.”

Compared to other Jackson teams over the years, “our girls were a little bit younger and a little more wide-eyed (going into the state meet),” said Whorley, who is beginning his 18th season as the team’s head coach. But despite their youth, and despite trailing on the scoreboard late in the meet, “they still had the wherewithal and the confidence to believe in themselves, and then to go win (some last) events to put themselves in a position to be at top of the podium.”

Now at the outset of a new season, Whorley is hopeful about his team’s chances in the coming months. Several top swimmers return from a year ago, which gives the T-wolves a solid foundation going forward. But in swimming, as any sport, there are always questions. Will Jackson remain healthy? And which young swimmers will blossom into dependable contributors?

If there is strength in numbers, the T-wolves should be in great shape — the team has close to 65 swimmers turning out. At this point, Whorley said, “we’re just trying to move through practice and figure out what we have.

“But this is an awesome situation to be in as a coach. These are not just talented kids, but they’re kids with a good work ethic … and I’m really excited for the ride.”

Leading the way for Jackson will be a pair of returning state champions, both now juniors. Nicole Limberg won the 100-yard breaststroke and was second in the 200 individual medley. Maddie Pressler won the 200 freestyle for the second straight year and was fifth in the 100 backstroke.

Both girls also swam on Jackson’s winning 400 freestyle relay and the runner-up 200 medley relay, as did now-sophomore Chloe Limargo, who was fourth in the 200 IM and ninth in the breaststroke.

Others the T-wolves will count on this season include freestylers Ashley Sawyer and Hannah Davis, both seniors, and sophomore Lexi Nims.

“We’re excited to get into the meet schedule and watch the kids at the top try to elevate some of the kids who are trying to get to the top,” Whorley said. “In the end I think we’ll find ourselves in the mix … but lots of things have to come together and have to go your way.”

Could Jackson chase another state title? “I think we have a shot,” he said, “but I also think we have to be better than we were last year. And I think there are five other teams with just as good a shot as us.”

Archbishop Murphy, meanwhile, returns every swimmer from last season’s second-place team at the Class 2A state meet (two divers graduated). The Wildcats boast two returning state champions in senior Danielle Booth, who won a state title in the 100 breaststroke, and senior Reilly Krueger, who placed first in diving.

Others who will contribute for Archbishop Murphy are senior Kaelee McCloskey, fourth at state in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly; sophomore Caroline Kowalchuk, 11th in the 200 IM, and freestyler Caitlin Mitchell.

Though Liberty breezed to the 2A team title a year ago and is the heavy favorite to repeat this season, “I’d love to get another second place at state,” said Archbishop Murphy head coach Erin Edmondson. “Top three, that’s our goal.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Granite Falls' Kaleb Roberts rushes with Sultan's Kaden Harwick closing Friday night in Sultan on February 26, 2021 (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Friday night lights finally back on

Granite Falls beats rival Sultan in OT in the area’s first prep football game in more than 15 months.

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez waits to bat during spring training baseball practice Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Mariners prospect learning from Seattle icon

Julio Rodriguez, just barely 20 years old, is relishing an opportunity to work with Ichiro Suzuki.

Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin (0), left, and center Christian Koloko (35) smother Washington forward Nate Roberts (1) as they fight for a loose ball goes to the ground in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Tucson, Ariz. (Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
Huskies edged by Arizona in regular-season finale

Washington’s difficult regular season comes to an end with a hard-fought 75-74 loss on the road.

High School football teams across Snohomish County are closing in on their first game in over a year. (Herald file photos)
Prep football: Key games and the area’s complete schedule

The first H.S. football game in the county in over a year is set to take place this coming Friday.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, right, talks to quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Seahawks defeated the Dolphins 31-23.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Reports show growing divide between Wilson, Seahawks

But despite the star quarterback’s apparent unhappiness, a trade in 2021 remains unlikely.

Austin Johnson, 26 years-old, trains on the Centennial Trail in Lake Stevens and is planning to do a 24-hour run to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
24 hours, 80 miles, $23k raised for mental health

Austin Johnson completes a 24-hour run along the Centennial Trail to raise money for suicide prevention.

Quarterback Tanner Jellison runs a play with running backs Jay Roughton, left, and Trayce Hanks as the Lake Stevens High School football team conducts its first practice, marking the first day of practice for fall sports in the Wesco division, on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 in Lake Stevens, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Wesco high school sports teams’ long layoff finally ends

For the first time in more than 450 days, Wesco fall athletes gathered for official practices.

Everett Silvertips' Jake Christiansen takes a shot on goal during the game on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Silvertips release abbreviated 24-game schedule

Everett will open its season against Spokane at Angel of the Winds Arena on March 20.

Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert passes the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against San Diego in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Gonzaga’s Kispert finalist for Erving Award

The Edmonds native is among the final five to be the top small forward in college basketball.

A law enforcement officer looks over a damaged vehicle following a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in the Rancho Palos Verdes suburb of Los Angeles. Woods suffered leg injuries in the one-car accident and was undergoing surgery, authorities and his manager said. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
L.A. sheriff calls Tiger Woods crash ‘purely an accident’

Deputies saw no evidence the golf star was impaired by drugs or alcohol after Tuesday’s rollover.

Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto talks about the suspension of second baseman Robinson Cano, before the team's baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Seattle. Cano was suspended 80 games for violating baseball's joint drug agreement. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Mariners doing damage control with players after Mather’s video

GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais say the players involved have every right to be upset.

Arizona Diamondbacks' Travis Snider singles against the Texas Rangers during a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Community sports roundup: Ex-Jackson star Snider joins Braves

Plus, a former Monroe QB is excelling at Whitworth, the Silvertips sign a former T-bird, and more.