By BOB MORTENSON
FEDERAL WAY – Slowly but surely they’re inching their way up.
The Meadowdale Mavericks scored 87 points, good for a 13th-place finish at the Clasas 3A girls swimming state meet Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center.
Bainbridge took the team title with a score of 265. Bellevue was a distant second at 220.
Meadowdale’s 400-yard freestle relay contingent of Shelby Hill, Meredith Storey, Sarah Earling and Lauren Johnson took the consolation finals in a school-record time of 3:45.33.
“I thought it was a great achievement to take a second off of our best time,” Earling said.
In the 200 medley relay, the same foursome finished 10th in a time of 1:57.61.
Meadowdale’s Brittany Zdenek, a sophomore, used a back sommersault with a 2 1/2 twist in her final dive to secure sixth place in the diving competition.
“Her twist dives are her favorites.” Meadowdale diving coach Wally Nagel said.
Mercer Island sophomore Annika Giesbrecht scored 423 points to win her second straight diving title. Giesbrecht’s score was good for sixth place on the all-time 3A state list.
Newport senior Ashley Locke was a distant second with 332.20 points. Erica Vallejo, a senior from Yakima’s West Valley, was third with 327.80.
Giesbrecht surpassed her winning score from last year of 374.75 points.
Stanwood’s Amy Eskelon, a senior, earned eighth place in the diving in her first and last trip to state.
“I came here not expecting anything,” Eskelon said. “So to get a medal is just fantastic.”
Jackson scored 42 points and finished 19th.
“I’m really excited for next year,” Jackson’s Maito Hoshino said.
Hoshino shined in the 100 backstroke with a seventh-place finish.
Hoshino admitted she was nervous heading to the starting blocks during the introductions of the swimmers in the championship finals with the music blarring and the crowd screaming.
“I just wanted to die,” Hoshino said. “But as soon as I hit the water I was OK.”
The Timberwolves’ Stephanie Aasland placed seventh in the grueling 500 freestyle.
“I’ve worked harder this year than ever before,” Aasland said. “This is motivation to keep on working hard.”
Hoshino also placed 10th in the 200 individual medley, while Aasland was 10th in the 200 freestyle.
Robin Marolla, Alex Hardy, Aasland and Hoshino gave the Timberwolves 15th in the 200 freestyle relay.
Several Meadowdale swimmers had outstanding individual efforts in the consolation finals.
Earling swam to victory in the consolation finals of the 500 freestyle. Storey came in 11th in the same event. Hill was 11th in the 100 butterfly. Johnson helped out by finishing 15th in both the 50 and 100 freestyle races.
Meadowdale coach Ron Martin was very pleased with his squad’s effort.
“It’s the best finish ever for Meadowdale High School,” Martin said.
But, with Zdenek and Meadowdale’s top five swimmers returning and Jackson enjoying a similar situation, just wait until next year.
Stanwood freshman Theresa Nicholas placed third in the wheelchair division in both the 50 freestyle and 50 backstroke.
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