Snohomish swim team still very good

By John McDonald

Prep Editor

Not many teams could take a graduation hit on the scale of the one at Snohomish and remain competitive.

The four seniors on last year’s Snohomish team – Christine Neely, Katherine Cuevas, Ashley Boxman and Jo Blue – were part of three straight state championship squads. In last year’s state meet, they produced seven individual placements, including a first by Neely in the 100-yard backstroke, and swam on three relay teams which had a first and two seconds.

In all, they helped account for 156 of Snohomish’s 207 total points.

“The effect will be seen more at state than anywhere else,” Snohomish coach John Pringle said. “It already shows in our relay times, but depth-wise we’ll be fine.”

Of course, no cupboard that contains Erica Chandler can be considered bare. The Panthers phenom, who won state championships last year in the 100 and 200 freestyle races, is back looking for her fifth and sixth overall titles.

“She has been struggling a bit,” Pringle said. “She had her wisdom teeth removed and lost some weight. She’s not the Erica we are used to.”

There’s plenty of time for Chandler to regain her competitive edge before the postseason meets, and Pringle thinks he has enough quality swimmers complementing Chandler to be successful in the Western Conference North Division.

The league’s two divisions will not conduct a combined district meet. Each division will hold its own meet with the first-place finisher in each event qualifying for the state meet. The league’s third state allocation will go to the second-place finisher with the fastest time.

Here’s a look back at last season and a look ahead at this year’s competition.

2000 recap: Snohomish went undefeated en route to winning the Wesco 4A dual meet championship. The Panthers also won the Northwest District meet, more than doubling the score of second-place Shorewood, and won its third straight state championship.

Meadowdale was unbeaten in the Wesco 3A and lost only a non-league meet to Edmonds-Woodway. The Mavericks also outpointed Jackson to win the league meet and had their best-ever showing at state, finishing 13th. Jackson was 19th.

2001 outlook: Snohomish is the team to beat in the Wesco North. Oak Harbor and Marysville-Pilchuck should challenge, though.

Note that Everett competes in the North Division in swimming, but the South Division in all other sports.

The Wesco South will be very competitive with five teams, Meadowdale, Jackson, Shorewood, Edmonds-Woodway and Kamiak, all returning significant numbers of state qualifiers.

Meadowdale returns diver Brttany Zdenek and all four of the swimmers who scored points for the Mavericks in last year’s state meet: Lauren Johnson, Shelby Hill, Sarah Earling and Meredith Storey. Meadowdale will compete in Class 3A in the postseason.

Kamiak returns four state finalists, Shala VanGerpen, Jill Spencer, Ashley Best and Molly Fitzpatrick, all of whom are also school record holders.

Jackson returns four all-league swimmers, Edmonds-Woodway has three returning state qualifiers and Shorewood returns five, including Jackie Benson, the school record holder and a state finalist in the 100 breaststroke.

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