SNOHOMISH — The Lake Stevens High School boys swim and dive team hoisted a first-place district trophy and celebrated atop the winners podium for the third straight year.
Lake Stevens rallied behind its core unit of swimmers, placing at least one swimmer or relay team in the top two in eight of the 12 events to secure a team title at the Class 4A District 1 championship meet Saturday at the Snohomish Aquatic Center.
The Vikings finished with an overall score of 371, 79 points ahead of second-place Jackson (292). Kamiak (281) placed third, Glacier Peak (210) fourth and Mariner (49) fifth.
The Vikings swimmers shaved down multiple times in the preliminary races on Thursday and one-upped themselves in Saturday’s finals, including an important showing in a razor-thin victory in the 200-yard medley relay as the Vikings held off Jackson by 0.13 seconds, completing the swim in 1 minute, 36.64 seconds.
“You always get nervous when you know they can swim fast, because the next step is: ‘will they?’” Lake Stevens head coach Brady Dykgraaf said. “I’ll be honest, they came to play on Thursday. Almost everyone dropped time and they came back today and fed off of each other.”
Much like last season, the Vikings hung their hats on their depth.
Juniors Camden Blevins-Mohr and Coren Coe, senior Connor Weldon and sophomore Samuel Lamb produced the winning time in the medley relay, while Blevins-Mohr, Coe, Lamb and freshman Sebastian Erickson added a first-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay (1:27.62).
Weldon, who also qualified for state as an individual by taking second in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.18), credited the group for banding together in the medley relay.
“I was just trying to stay strong in the breaststroke the whole time,” Weldon said of the relay swim. “We started the year not having a backstroke swimmer lined up, because all of them last year were seniors. So, we were kind of finding ourselves at first and luckily it worked out for us at the end.”
Blevins-Mohr stacked individual wins in both the 50 freestyle (21.02) and the 100 butterfly, finishing the 100 fly in 49.82 seconds after setting the meet record with a time of 49.66 seconds in the prelims Thursday. Coe finished second in the same event with a time of 53.79 seconds.
Lamb claimed first in the 100 freestyle in a tightly contested race, finishing in 48 seconds, 0.07 seconds ahead of Timberwolves standout senior Ethan Georgiev.
“That’s a kid you’re just super proud of,” Dykgraaf said of Lamb.
Jackson squeezes out second-place finish
The Timberwolves needed every bit of production from their leaders and young swimmers as they outscored Kamiak by 11 points to secure a second-place finish.
Junior Vyron Domingo defended his district crown in the 200 individual medley for his third consecutive title and first while swimming for Jackson.
The Mariner transfer ripped through the water, finishing the 200 IM with in 1 minute, 58.07 seconds, 1.99 seconds faster than his preliminary performance. He also took first in the 100 backstroke, finishing in 52.20 seconds.
In addition, seniors Ethan Chen-Parks and Georgiev both logged first-place medals.
Chen-Parks broke the one-minute mark in his specialty swim, the 100 breaststroke, finishing in 59.76 seconds.
“Hitting that one-minute mark is such a monumental thing to hit and I’m happy I could hit it in my last districts, and I’m looking to do even better at state,” Chen-Parks said.
Georgiev grabbed first in the 200 freestyle, racing it in 1:47.42. He nabbed second in a photo finish in the 100 freestyle.
Freshman Nolan Thai tacked on a second-place medal in the 500 freestyle (5:04.56), qualifying for state. He also helped Domingo, Chen-Parks and Georgiev lead Jackson to second in the 200 freestyle relay.
Domingo, Chen-Parks, Georgiev and freshman Presytn Ruitjers teamed up for the Timberwolves’ second-place finish in the 200 medley relay.
“I cannot express how proud I am of our underclassmen,” Chen-Parks said. “They really stood up in their races with some upperclassmen.”
Glacier Peak snags 400 relay win
The Grizzlies were one of the underdogs in the 400 freestyle relay, but they didn’t swim like it.
Glacier Peak entered as the fourth seed in the finals and ended up taking the win in convincing fashion.
Seniors Brendan Gaffney and Kaiu Taylor, junior Lorenzo Benavente and sophomore Noah Wynder got the job done, finishing the event with a time of 3:22.43, which was over 17 seconds quicker than their preliminary time. It was also 4.22 seconds faster than second-place Lake Stevens.
Taylor also qualified for state with second-place finishes in the 50 freestyle (21.80) and the 100 backstroke (53.72).
“It was really exciting,” Glacier Peak head coach Ron Belleza said. “Our two seniors put us in really good position and it was great to see them end their senior year with a win in this relay. They’ve been wanting a relay win like this since they were freshmen.”
OTHER LOCAL WINNERS
Kamiak senior Bryan Zi Wong took first in the 500 freestyle, clocking in at 5:00.22.
Kamiak juniors Cade Farmer, Aaron Vu and Zack Warren all put together state-qualifying scores in the diving event. Farmer took the crown with a score of 353.15, followed by Vu (321.40) and Warren (320).