MUKILTEO — Jackson phenom Jonathan Cook showed once again why he’s regarded as one of the nation’s top swimming recruits.
But the depth of Kamiak’s swim and dive team was too much for the Cook-led Timberwolves.
The Knights snapped Jackson’s streak of 49 consecutive dual-meet victories, rolling to a 115-68 win Thursday afternoon in a Wesco South showdown of state powerhouses at Kamiak High School.
“It was depth, which means it was a team effort,” Knights coach Chris Erickson said of his team’s key to victory. “You’ve got to love it.”
Snapping a lengthy winning streak is nothing new for the Kamiak-Jackson swimming rivalry.
Three years ago, Jackson ended Kamiak’s 103-meet win streak. The Knights returned the favor Thursday, handing the Timberwolves their first loss since 2014.
Kamiak (12-0 overall, 9-0 Wesco South) has lost just three dual meets since 2008, with all three of those defeats coming to Jackson over the past three seasons.
“Since I got to Jackson 20 years ago, Kamiak has always been one of the meets that we know we’re going to get tested in,” Timberwolves coach Drew Whorley said. “I think it’s a real testament to coach Erickson and the program.”
The two powerhouse programs entered Thursday having outscored their opponents by an average of more than 70 points per meet this season.
The showdown of unbeatens turned into another decisive victory for the Knights, who have won all but one of their meets by at least 40 points.
“They’re an incredibly deep squad this year — really difficult to plan for,” Whorley said. “They’ve got talent up top, they’ve got some stuff in the middle and (Erickson) does a really good job developing.”
Cook, a four-time individual state champion, starred for Jackson (9-1, 8-1) with yet another brilliant performance.
The Stanford University-bound senior cruised to victory in the 200-yard individual medley, posting a winning time of 1 minute, 51.94 seconds that ranks as the fastest time in the state’s 4A classification this season, according to the Washington Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association.
Cook also handily won the 100 breaststroke, despite essentially falling off the block due to a conflicting sound at the start of the race. He quickly made up the early deficit and stormed to victory, posting a winning time of 57.84 seconds that ranks second-fastest in 4A.
“He heard a knock, thought it was a go, basically fell in the water, and still manages to come back and win,” Whorley said. “(That) just kind of speaks to the type of talent that he is.”
Kamiak’s top-ranked 400 freestyle and 200 medley relay teams each won in decisive fashion. The 400 freestyle relay team of Maxwell Fang, Alex Kirby, Slava Gilszmer and Vlad Gilszmer finished in 3:15.98, improving their state-best time by 0.4 seconds.
Vlad, a freshman, also won the 500 freestyle (4:45.74) and 100 backstroke (54.92). He owns the second-fastest 500 freestyle time in the state’s 4A classification.
“I’m really impressed with what he’s done,” Erickson said. “He’s done some impressive things already.”
Fang, a sophomore, won the 100 butterfly in 53.28 seconds. He currently owns top-five 4A state times in three events.
“He’s kind of been Mr. Smooth,” Erickson said. “His strokes are extremely efficient. He just looks smooth and fast right now. He’s doing a great job.”
Jackson sophomore Justin Limberg won a pair of races, taking first place in both the 200 and 100 freestyle. Cook and Limberg also powered the Timberwolves’ 200 freestyle relay team to victory in a 4A state-best time of 1:28.67.
Kamiak sophomore Brian Park won the 50 freestyle in 22.04 seconds.