Prep swimming: Jackson should contend for state title

FEDERAL WAY — Constantly focusing on short-term goals makes a season evaporate quickly, so Drew Whorley is doing his best to make sure he and his athletes savor every moment.

“I’m just excited,” Whorley, head coach of the Jackson High School girls swim team, said Friday. “There’s come a point when we spend a lot of time wondering, ‘What can we do and how do we adjust it?’”

“Now it’s just swimming. We’ve done the work. We’ve put ourselves in position. Tomorrow, just go race,” Whorley added after his team performed well in the Class 4A preliminaries during the 2008 state girls swimming and diving championships at King County Aquatic Center.

Jackson, which won league and district titles this season, was considered a contender for the 4A team title entering the state meet. Based on the Timberwolves’ performance in prelims, they’re definitely still in it, Whorley said.

Two Jackson relay teams (200-yard medley and 400 freestyle) won their heats and are seeded first for today’s finals, which start at 10:15 a.m. Jackson also has several highly seeded individuals, including Amber McDermott and Alana Pazevic. McDermott, a sophomore, is ranked No. 1 in the 500 freestyle and No. 2 in 200 individual medley. Pazevic, a junior, is the top seed in the 50 freestyle and No. 3 in the 100 freestyle. Both Jackson standouts swam on the team’s victorious relay units.

“I feel like things are definitely moving in the right direction for us,” Whorley said. “The thing we had to focus on was making sure we held our own, and we did that.”

Redmond and Beamer also appear to be in the title hunt. They each have two relay teams seeded among the top three in championship finals.

Jackson started prelims with a blazing effort in the 200-yard medley relay. Marina Pomar-Enders, Courtney McDermott, Amber McDermott and Pazevic recorded an automatic All-America time of one minute, 48.86 seconds.

In her third event of the day, Amber McDermott left the competition far behind in the 500 freestyle. She broke the 16-year-old state-meet record with a time of 4:49.58. McDermott finished about 15 seconds faster than the second-place competitor in the heat.

How does McDermott stay motivated when she’s so far ahead? “I pace myself,” she said, “and know that, in my mind, there’s someone next to me.”

Snohomish High’s Emily Ferreira took a positive step Friday toward defending her title in the 100 breaststroke. Ferreira, a junior, swam an automatic All-America time (1:05.09) and is seeded first for the finals. The second- and third-seeded swimmers (Garfield’s Maddy Morgan and Redmond’s Heather Harper) were both less than sixth-tenths of a second slower than Ferreira.

Snohomish coach Rob Serviss praised Ferreira, who also swam on the Panthers’ 200 medley relay squad, seeded No. 4.

“She’s done a pretty good job of approaching (the 100 breaststroke) the same way” as last year, said Serviss.

In 4A diving, Marysville-Pilchuck’s Sarah Clark is ranked fourth entering today’s final round. Clark, a junior, scored 265.65 points in Thursday’s prelims. The leader is Anna Steiner of Lake Washington (294 points).

Two Murphy swimmers reach finals in 2A meet

Amy Renslo and Katie Main of Archbishop Murphy High qualified for two championship finals apiece in the 2A meet.

Renslo, a sophomore, is seeded No. 2 in the 100 butterfly and No. 5 in the 200 individual medley. Main, a senior, is seeded third in the 500 freestyle and fifth in the 100 butterfly, three spots lower than Renslo.

Also, Archbishop Murphy diver Rosalie Corrigan scored the fifth-most points (176.35) in the 1-meter diving prelims, which were held Thursday. The sophomore will compete in the finals today.

This is the first year Murphy has had a girls swim and dive team.

Writer Mike Cane: Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at

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