SNOHOMISH — Wesco 4A’s talented array of swimmers made record-breaking performances the norm Saturday at Snohomish Aquatic Center.
During an ultra-fast edition of the Class 4A Northwest District boys swim and dive finals, meet records fell in seven of the 12 events.
It was such a speedy field that on two occasions a swimmer or relay team broke a district-meet record, yet didn’t win the race.
“Some of the swims that happened today were so impressive,” Kamiak coach Chris Erickson said.
Yet for all of the new records, a familiar powerhouse remained atop the district throne.
Kamiak rolled to its 11th outright district title in 13 years, claiming its usual spot atop the team standings with 513 points. The Knights finished well ahead of second-place Jackson, which totaled 388 points.
Kamiak won three events — two relays and one individual race — and set district-meet records in all three. But team depth was just as important for the Knights, who totaled 20 top-eight finishes in the eight individual swimming events.
“I was really impressed with that,” Erickson said of his depth.
Kamiak junior Vlad Gilszmer, the defending 4A state champion in the 500-yard freestyle, cruised to his third consecutive district title in the event. He posted an All-American consideration time of 4 minutes, 32.53 seconds, which broke an 11-year meet record by more than 1.5 seconds.
The Knights also sped to a pair of relay victories, setting meet records by nearly 2.5 seconds in both races.
The Kamiak team of Max Fang, Brian Park, Slava Gilszmer and Vlad Gilszmer cruised to the 200 freestyle relay title in 1:25.97, falling just 0.11 seconds shy of an All-American consideration time. Max Fang, Ryan Fang and the Gilszmer twins also won the 400 freestyle relay in 3:10.49.
“We were a little flat on Thursday (in the preliminaries), but of course you always want to swim better at finals,” Erickson said. “And most of our guys swam better today — some a lot better — than we did on Thursday. So that’s really good.”
Glacier Peak senior Matthew King showed why he’s one of the nation’s top recruits, sprinting to district titles and automatic All-American times in both the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle. In both events, he broke his own meet records that he set in 2018.
The University of Alabama signee won the 50 freestyle in a blistering 20.02 seconds, which was 0.79 seconds faster than his 2018 district record. He won the 100 freestyle in 44.06 seconds, which was more than two seconds faster than his 2018 time.
King is the top-ranked senior recruit in the state and the No. 44 senior recruit in the nation, according to CollegeSwimming.com.
After winning 4A state titles in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle as a sophomore, King took last season off from high school swimming. He rejoined the Grizzlies earlier this season and accumulated enough practices to participate in the team’s final regular-season meet, during which he earned his district-qualifying times, according to Glacier Peak coach Ron Belleza.
“He took last season off to focus more on club swimming, because he had a bunch of recruitment trips to concentrate on,” Belleza said. “… So I told him, ‘You know, we’re going to be here next year, and if you can come through, we’ll be here for (you).’ And he did.”
Jackson sophomore Jensen Elsemore beat a Kamiak trio of reigning top-six state medalists to claim the 200 freestyle in a meet-record 1:40.43.
Elsemore trailed Vlad Gilszmer — who earned a fourth-place state medal in the event last season — by about a body length with 50 meters to go. But Elsemore surged past Gilszmer on the closing stretch and finished 0.21 seconds ahead of the Kamiak standout. Elsemore also finished ahead of reigning Kamiak state medalists Max Fang and Slava Gilszmer.
“He’s just really come into his own over the course of the last month, month-and-a-half,” Jackson coach Drew Whorley said. “It’s a whole lot of fun watching someone start to realize what they’re capable of doing.”
The Jackson team of Braden Thompson, Justin Limberg, Alex Georgiev and Elsemore won the 200 medley relay in 1:36.63. Georgiev also claimed the 100 backstroke title.
Lake Stevens sophomore Jaden Cardona took first place in the diving competition with 457.7 points, finishing ahead of Monroe’s Benson Boone and Lake Stevens’ Tyler Cochran. All three divers were state finalists last season.
Lake Stevens senior Alejandro Flores, an Auburn University signee, touched the wall just behind Mount Vernon swimmers during a pair of second-place finishes. Flores finished just 0.13 seconds behind Mount Vernon freshman Wyatt Carlton in the 100 butterfly and just 0.24 seconds behind Mount Vernon sophomore Luke Pusateri in the 100 breaststroke.
Limberg bettered the previous meet record in the 200 individual medley, but finished in second place behind Pusateri.
Swimmers and divers now turn their attention to next week’s state championships, which take place Friday and Saturday at King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
“It’s going to be wild,” Erickson said. “Wesco, I think, will be impressively represented. … Wesco is looking really good.”
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