Kamiak senior Elli Straume, an Arizona State University commit, has reached the podium in all 12 state races she’s swam. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Kamiak senior Elli Straume, an Arizona State University commit, has reached the podium in all 12 state races she’s swam. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Prep girls swim and dive preview: 5 storylines to watch

Kamiak’s Pac-12-bound star, Snohomish’s two-time diving state champ and others highlight the area’s talent.

Five storylines to watch during the 2019 high school girls swim and dive season:

Arizona State commit leads perennial power Kamiak

The powerhouse Kamiak program is headlined by Elli Straume, an Arizona State University commit who is the seventh-ranked overall senior recruit in the state according to CollegeSwimming.com.

Straume, who has reached the podium in all 12 state races she’s swam, owns four top-three individual Class 4A state medals. Last year, she claimed her second consecutive state runner-up finish in the 200-yard freestyle and a third-place finish in the 500 freestyle. Her time of 1 minute, 49.24 seconds in the 200 freestyle was the 69th-fastest in the nation among high schoolers last year, earning her All-American honors.

Straume, Sophia Ryu and Grace Hatscher return to lead the Knights’ relay teams — all three of which claimed top-10 finishes at last season’s state championships.

Kamiak has earned four consecutive top-eight state team finishes, including a seventh-place finish last year. The Knights also have claimed three straight Wesco South titles and have won 23 consecutive league dual meets.

Jackson brings back strong core

The Timberwolves return every swimmer who earned points at last year’s 4A state meet, where Jackson placed ninth in the team standings for its sixth consecutive top-10 state finish.

Headlining the returning talent is Mia Chang, who is the third-ranked junior recruit in the state and 96th-ranked junior recruit in the nation according to CollegeSwimming.com. Chang earned her second consecutive third-place state medal in the 100 backstroke last year and also placed ninth in the 100 breaststroke.

Mia Chang returns to lead perennial power Jackson. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Mia Chang returns to lead perennial power Jackson. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Also back for the Timberwolves is senior Heidi Ly, who claimed a fifth-place state medal in the 100 backstroke last season.

The return of Chang, Ly, senior Emily Mun and junior Caitlyn Anderson means Jackson brings back all four members of its state 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams, which both earned fifth-place medals last year.

The Timberwolves ended Kamiak’s long reign of district supremacy last season, edging the Knights by three points for the 4A Northwest District crown. Expect the two powerhouse programs to once again clash for the Wesco South and district titles, and to both be in the mix for top finishes at state.

Snohomish diver aims for 3rd state title

Snohomish junior Kayli Kersavage has won back-to-back 3A diving state titles. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Snohomish junior Kayli Kersavage has won back-to-back 3A diving state titles. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

It’s been a phenomenal start to the prep career of Snohomish junior diver Kayli Kersavage, who captured the event’s 3A state title each of the past two seasons.

As a freshman, Kersavage won the state crown by the slimmest of margins, finishing 0.15 points ahead of Squalicum’s Helene Synnott with a winning score of 395.8 points.

The margin in last year’s state meet was a bit more comfortable for Kersavage, who posted 423.15 points to finish more than 19 points ahead of second-place and since-graduated Synnott.

Panthers look to continue their resurgence

Snohomish is coming off a breakthrough season that was reminiscent of the program’s successes back in the 2000s.

The Panthers went unbeaten in conference dual meets to claim the Wesco North title, ending Lake Stevens’ four-year reign atop the league. They won the 3A Northwest District title, edging defending champion Shorecrest by four points. They placed eighth in the 3A state team standings, matching the program’s best state finish since 2010.

And after returning all of their state scoring from last year, Snohomish looks to build on its success.

In addition to Kersavage, the Panthers’ returners are highlighted by senior Mieko Schwartzmiller, who claimed a third-place state medal in the 100 breaststroke last season. Also back is sophomore Kendall Bensen, who earned a sixth-place state finish in the 100 backstroke.

Snohomish also returns all of its swimmers from last year’s state-medalist 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams.

Shorecrest returns plenty of talent

The Scots nearly won their second consecutive 3A Northwest District title last season, finishing just four points behind Snohomish. And with Shorecrest returning the bulk of its top-end talent from last year’s 11th-place state team, the Scots and Panthers could once again battle it out for the district crown.

Shorecrest’s returning core is led by seniors Anna Sargent and Jiahui Zeng, who advanced to the state consolation finals in two individual events apiece last season. The Scots also bring back nearly every swimmer from their state-medalist 200 freestyle and 200 medley relay squads.

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