Right on schedule, the Shorewood boys swim team finished second at the 4A District 1 meet behind state title favorite Kamiak, Friday, Feb. 13.
School records fell in the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays and in the 500 freestyle during the meet at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
The Thunderbirds expect to battle Kamiak and Gig Harbor for a state title, Feb. 19-21 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Shorewood, which finished fourth last year, is having one of its best seasons in school history.
Five Thunderbirds have qualified for state in eight different swim events. All three relays are in as well. Diver Eddie Young also took the 4A District title as a freshman and stayed undefeated in high school competition.
Young’s score of 414.3 was a point short of the school record. His dominating district win was the first for a freshman diver since Shorewood’s Spenser Mestel, now a sophomore diver at Dartmouth, won six years ago, coach Shauna Kopischka said.
Young’s dives for state are set and he said his focus is on being consistent.
Shorewood senior Bryan Michaels broke his own school record in the 500 freestyle with an automatic All-American time of 4:34.05. He beat out Sean Nesheim of Cascade by .75 seconds. Nesheim edged Michaels in the 200 freestyle, by .35 seconds, winning in 1:41.15 to Michaels’ 1:41.50. Both were automatic All-American times. The two have a good rivalry going with Michaels winning the 500 at state last year and Nesheim winning the 200.
“I could probably get out a little bit faster than I was here. I was pretty relaxed today. I kicked it in about the 300-(yard mark),” Michaels said of his 500. “In the 200 I just got to get out fast and get back fast. I pretty much have to sprint the whole thing because Sean has got a lot of speed, he’s probably got more speed than I do.”
All Shorewood’s swimmers who are going to state had already qualified for state, with the exception of junior Marcus Gill in the 200 individual medley.
Gill swam a state cut in Thursday’s preliminaries, finishing in 2:02.92. In Friday’s final he placed fifth in 2:03.39 and was one of seven swimmers from the district to qualify for state. Gill also had already qualified in the 100 backstroke. He finished third in the final in 56.59 behind teammate Thor Stenfjord who clocked in a state qualifying 56.04.
“Marcus has probably been the most impressive this meet,” Shorewood coach Scott Kelley said.
Shorewood ended the meet with a school record victory in the 400 freestyle relay. The time of 3:17.32 by Stenfjord, Tim Tan, Gill and Michaels beat Kamiak by 1.01 seconds.
“I was really happy with the last relay performance,” Kelley said. “A lot of guys did not rest of rest for this meet because they already had their state qualifying times.”
The 200 freestyle relay finished second behind Kamiak by .5 seconds in a school record time of 1:29:48. Max DeMerritt, Mackey Hopen, Stenfjord and Michaels swam on the relay.
“I thought our 200 free relay would go faster,” said Kelley, who inserted Michaels in the lineup to go for the school record. “They were a little too cautious on their starts.”
Shorewood’s 200 medley relay which also had qualified for state finished fifth in 1:44.11 with a lineup of Gill, Jimmie Keenholts, Hopen and DeMerritt.
The relay lineups will change at state, Kelley promised, but for strategic reasons he would not reveal how.
Also qualifying in individual events were Hopen in the 50 and 100 freestyles, Tan in the 100 butterfly and Stenfjord in the 100 freestyle. DeMerritt went for state cuts in the 50 and 100 freestyles but came up short at districts. Tan also went for a state time in the 200 freestyle but came up four-tenths of a second short. Tan still could earn a wild card berth, however. Six swimmers from the district qualified for state in the 200 freestyle by time.
Hopen finished second in the 50 freestyle in 22.25, behind Snohomish standout Garren Riechel who won in 21.68.
Stenfjord took third in the 100 freestyle in 49.21 while Hopen was fifth in 50.12. Tan took fourth in the butterfly in 55.26.
Shorewood finished second as a team with 414 points behind Kamiak, which had 562 points. Marysville-Pilchuck was third with 385 points, but their 400 freestyle relay was disqualified which opened the door for Shorewood to take second.
Now Shorewood gets ready for the big meet and ironically the T-birds will be training in rival Kamiak’s pool in preparation for it. The Shoreline Pool is undergoing annual maintenance this week, so Shorewood and Shorecrest swim teams will have to train at the Kamiak Pool in Mukilteo after the Knights wrap up practice this week.
An inconvenience perhaps, but the T-birds believe they still have a shot to make a title run.