SHORELINE — The Kamiak boys swim team has lost only two dual meets in the last nine seasons.
Shorewood gave the Knights all they could handle in Tuesday afternoon’s battle of unbeatens, winning six of the meet’s nine individual events and two of the three relay races.
But on a day when both teams were missing swimmers due to illness, depth proved key for Kamiak as the Knights edged Shorewood for a 93-92 dual-meet victory at Shoreline Pool.
“We had a lot of good races, so that’s always exciting,” Kamiak coach Chris Erickson said. “We knew these guys were tough. We had good depth. (They have) a couple of sick ones and we have a couple of sick ones. That made things interesting, but it was a fun meet.”
Kamiak (12-0) has now won 134 of its last 136 dual meets dating back to February 2008, when the Knights lost to a Snohomish team that went on to win the Class 4A state title. Since then, the only team to beat Kamiak in a dual meet has been Jackson, which snapped the Knights’ 103-meet win streak in 2015 and beat the Knights again last season.
Shorewood (8-1) came ever so close to pulling off the rare feat Tuesday with an impressive collection of performances.
Shorewood senior Andrew Butcher won both the 50-yard freestyle (22.50 seconds) and 100 freestyle (50.50) and also anchored the Thunderbirds to victory in both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
“He’s a great kid,” Shorewood coach Jeremy Hunter said. “He’s just an incredible athlete. He’s the kind of kid who is just here for all the right reasons. He loves being a part of the team. And he is a tremendous competitor as well. (He has) a lot of natural talent, coupled with a really strong work ethic. I think that he can do some really cool things at state this year.”
Shorewood returns three swimmers from last season’s 400 and 200 freestyle relay teams, which respectively took second place and fourth place in the Class 3A state meet. The Thunderbirds showcased that talent Tuesday by earning a pair of relay victories against a Kamiak squad that entered the week with all three relay teams ranked in the top 10 of the state’s 4A classification.
Kamiak led by more than a second through the first two legs of the 200 freestyle relay, but Shorewood junior Anders Stenfjord and Butcher swam a speedy final two legs to give the Thunderbirds a winning time of 1 minute, 32.46 seconds that beat the Knights by 0.44 seconds.
In the 400 freestyle relay, Kamiak rallied to take the lead on the third leg, but Butcher swam a blistering final 100 meters as the Thunderbirds finished in 3:25.20 to beat the Knights by 1.25 seconds.
“We have some high-end, elite speed,” Hunter said of his relay teams. “(And) they’re experienced. The stage doesn’t get too big for them in a situation like that. They love the competition and they respond to the competition.”
Stenfjord, who earned four medals in last year’s 3A state meet, won the 500 freestyle in 5:23.92 and beat Kamiak freshman phenom Maxwell Fang by 0.67 seconds in the 100 butterfly for a winning time of 53.90 seconds.
“He’s (another) kid who I think has a tremendous upside when the postseason comes around,” Hunter said of Stenfjord. “It’ll be fun to watch what he does in the postseason.”
Kamiak junior Walter Limm won both the 200 individual medley (2:07.27) and 100 breaststroke (1:01.49). Fang cruised to victory in the 200 freestyle with a winning time of 1:50.36.
“He’s a nice, quiet, disciplined, hard-working guy,” Erickson said of Fang. “He’s got excellent distance per stroke. He really holds water (and) really travels per stroke.”
Kamiak’s team of Fang, Limm, sophomore Johnathan Ke and freshman Brian Park won the 200 medley relay by nearly 10 seconds with a time of 1:42.22.
The Knights face rival Jackson (9-0) next Tuesday, looking to end a two-meet losing streak to the Timberwolves and avenge their only two losses since 2008.
“We’re the chasers now. We’re the underdog,” Erickson said. “We’re going after them with whatever we’ve got.”
At Shoreline Pool
200 medley relay—Kamiak (Maxwell Fang, Walter Limm, Johnathan Ke, Brian Park) 1:42.22; 200 freestyle—Fang (K) 1:50.36; 200 individual medley—Limm (K) 2:07.27; 50 freestyle—Andrew Butcher (S) 22.50; Diving—Nicholas Muth (S) 217.85; 100 butterfly—Anders Stenfjord (S) 53.90; 100 freestyle—Butcher (S) 50.50; 500 freestyle—Stenfjord (S) 5:23.92; 200 freestyle relay—Shorewood (Cole Nouwens, Chris Gerbino, Stenfjord, Butcher) 1:32.46; 100 backstroke—Bennett Vana (S) 1:01.35; 100 breaststroke—Limm (K) 1:01.49; 400 freestyle relay—Shorewood (Gerbino, Stenfjord, Vana, Butcher) 3:25.20.