The Jackson girls cheer on their swimmers during the400 yard freestyle relay at the Class 4A District 1 swim meet Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, at Snohomish Aquatic Center in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

The Jackson girls cheer on their swimmers during the400 yard freestyle relay at the Class 4A District 1 swim meet Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, at Snohomish Aquatic Center in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Jackson races to 4A district girls swim and dive title

The Timberwolves win six of 12 events to claim their third 4A district title in their past four tries.

SNOHOMISH — Shortly after his swimmers and divers finished celebrating with the district championship trophy, longtime Jackson High School coach Drew Whorley reflected on what it’s like to be around this particular group.

It was clear how highly he thinks of them.

“When you get fortunate enough to inherit a team that has the right attitude and the right chemistry and the right makeup, you feel just fortunate to be part of it,” Whorley said. “I just feel very fortunate to get to come to work every day and get to spend my time with such excellent kids.

“And the fact that it culminates in something like this where you get a trophy, … it’s just a very special experience.”

Led by a talented quartet of underclassmen, the Timberwolves rolled to the Class 4A District 1 girls swim and dive team title with a dominant performance Saturday at Snohomish Aquatic Center.

Jackson piled up 544 points in the district team standings, finishing 59 points ahead of second-place Glacier Peak and 163 points ahead of third-place Kamiak in the five-team meet. The Timberwolves won two of the three relay races and four of the nine individual events. They totaled 12 top-three finishes over the meet’s 12 events.

Sophomore Olivia Hoyla, freshman Elissa Anderson, junior Celina Hernandez-Murillo and freshman Julia Song each won an individual title for Jackson. The quartet also teamed up for both relay victories.

“It was just a total team effort,” Whorley said. “… I couldn’t be more excited and more proud of the full team contribution.”

It marked the third district title in the past four district meets for the Timberwolves, who won back-to-back district crowns in 2018 and 2019.

“It’s exciting — and then also overwhelmed with pride,” Hoyla said. “… The feeling of putting in a bunch of effort and having it pay off is really nice.”

The Timberwolves cruised to both of their relay victories, posting state-qualifying times of 1 minute, 41.47 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle relay and 3:40.69 in the 400 freestyle relay. The latter came in the meet’s final event, providing an exclamation point to Jackson’s district triumph.

“That was an impressive swim for them,” Whorley said.

Hoyla, the reigning 4A state runner-up in the 200 individual medley, cruised to her second consecutive district title in the event. She posted a state-qualifying time of 2:10.25, finishing 3.3 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

“She’s just one of the toughest competitors that we’ve had,” Whorley said. “… She’s just tough as nails. There’s no quit in her. And there’s just the level of determination and spunkiness with her swimming. She’s inspiring.”

Anderson claimed the 200 freestyle title with a state-qualifying time of 1:57.6.

Song won the 100 freestyle in 55.37 seconds, beating teammate Hernandez-Murillo by 0.52 seconds.

And Hernandez-Murillo took the 50 freestyle title in 25.08 seconds, edging Glacier Peak junior Lily Lao by 0.27 seconds.

“Kids stepped up today, took advantage of opportunities, believed in themselves and swam with confidence,” Whorley said. “They focused on embracing these opportunities to compete and giving yourself a chance — believing that something good can happen.”

Jackson also received valuable contributions from divers Lauren Wierschke and Anna-Lyn Wilson, who both advanced to state last year and posted state-qualifying scores Saturday.

Wierschke, a senior and reigning third-place state medalist, placed third at district with 363.70 points. Wilson, a sophomore, placed fourth with 333.15 points.

“We couldn’t do this without them,” Whorley said.


Kamiak junior Claire Smith, the defending 4A butterfly state champion, claimed a pair of district titles. She won the 100 butterfly in a state-qualifying time of 57.12 seconds, beating second-place Hoyla by 0.89 seconds. She also won the 100 backstroke in a state-qualifying time of 59.57 seconds.


— Glacier Peak took the top two spots in the talent-laden diving competition. Addison Farman, a sophomore returning state qualifier, claimed the district title with 404.05 points. Claire Butler, a freshman, placed second with 369.35 points. Both posted state-qualifying scores.

— Glacier Peak won the 200 medley relay. Freshman Keelie Sullivan, senior Isabella Hoopes and juniors Ellie Lao and Lily Lao teamed for a winning time of 1:53.93.

— Hoopes also won the 100 breaststroke, posting a winning time of 1:09.21.

— Kamiak sophomore Janey Ryu claimed the 500 freestyle title in a state-qualifying time of 5:17.62.

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