Kamiak’s triple threat ready to make big splash | Girls swimming

Knights should be state contenders
Sep 26, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Kamiak junior Elli Straume finished second in the 200 freestyle at last year’s 4A state swimming championships.

The Kamiak girls swim team is ready to make another strong run at the 4A state championships.

Three Knights, who each advanced to either the finals or consolation finals in individual events, are back. Junior Elli Straume, sophomore Ava Collinge and senior Song-Nhi Vo along with junior Grace Hatscher also took second place in the 200 freestyle relay and third in the 200 medley relay.

“I’m excited to see what can happen this year,” Collinge said.

Straume made the biggest splash at last year’s state meet, finishing second in the 200 freestyle and fourth in the 100 freestyle in school record times.

With the club season going longer than usual, Straume didn’t have much of a break and as a consequence has come into the high school season ahead of where she was last year.

“I feel like I’m in a better place than I have been,” she said.

Straume hasn’t decided on which events she’ll focus on in the postseason, but she is leaning toward the same ones. She’ll be taking a somewhat different approach in her training.

“I want to focus more on the mental aspect,” Straume said. “You can do so much physically, but it’s all the mental stuff. So I’m trying to work on being more positive and accepting to new things and just approach things more prepared and being ready. I do expect to be faster because of the increase in training this year in both high school and club.”

Straume found the whole experience of competing at the King County Aquatic Center, site of the state championships, to be easier the second time around.

“I was used to it and could handle all the pressure,” Straume said.

Kamiak coach Chris Erickson has been around long enough to know that it’s difficult to project how races will go because of so many variables.

“It’s going to be exciting,” he added. “(Straume) has got a lot of events she can choose from. … Somewhere two-thirds or three-quarters through the season, we’ll take a look and we’ll want to decide so she can mentally prepare and physically prepare for it.”

For Collinge, the high school state meet wasn’t the first major competition she’s competed in since she’s also a club swimmer.

“But state is a little bit different,” she said. “It’s all about your team and what you can do for your team. … It’s really exciting.”

Collinge finished sixth in the 100 butterfly and was ninth in the 50 freestyle.

The Kamiak sophomore plans to definitely compete in the 100 butterfly.

“That’s kind of my thing,” she said. “I haven’t really decided on my second event. … I’m excited for this year. I think it’s going to go better now that I have one state meet under my belt. I have more experience.”

Erickson noted that Collinge also is strong in the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley.

“She very versatile,” Erickson said.

Vo, the lone senior among her relay teammates, finished 11th in the 50 freestyle. She is recovering from a shoulder injury that flared up last March.

“It’s a lot better,” Vo said.

She also is pumped up for the rest of the season.

“I’m really confident that our team is going to do really well this year,” Vo said.

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