Kamiak takes fourth place at 4A state swim meet

Knights have best finish since 2005
By David Pan | Nov 16, 2017
Photo by: David R Pan Kamiak’s Elli Straume finished second in the 200-yard freestyle and fourth in the 100 freestyle at the 4A State Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday, Nov. 11, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

For the first time in more than a decade, Kamiak brought home some hardware from the State Swimming and Diving Championships.

Led by sophomore Elli Straume’s pair of top four finishes, the Knights placed fourth overall at the 4A championships Saturday, Nov. 11, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

The last time Kamiak returned with a state trophy was in 2005.

“It was one of our goals,” Knights coach Chris Erickson said.

Straume, making her second appearance at state, finished second in the 200-yard freestyle and fourth in the 100 freestyle. Her times of 1 minute, 50.04 seconds in the 200 freestyle and 51.28 in the 100 freestyle were both school records. The 200 freestyle time also earned Straume all-American consideration.

“I felt really confident,” Straume said. “I feel like all my hard work during the season really paid off.”

The 200 freestyle challenged Straume physically because it immediately followed the 200 medley relay. Straume, along with teammates Song-Nhi Vo, Grace Hatscher and Ava Collinge started off Saturday’s meet with a solid third place finish in 1:48.33.

Straume did a quick warm down, joined her teammates on the podium to receive their third place medals and then got back into race mode for the 200 freestyle.

“I had to put that (200 medley relay race) behind me in order to focus on my individual race,” Straume said. “I had to quickly transition. My teammates helped guide me.”

At last year’s state meet, Straume finished seventh in the 200 individual medley and third in the 100 freestyle. The Kamiak standout decided to swim the 200 freestyle in part because she was having success in the 100 freestyle.

During the second half of the race, Straume said she could feel the effects of swimming back-to-back races.

“It was definitely hard,” she said.

But Straume reminded herself to “keep up the tempo and stay in the race.”

Straume dropped more than 1.5 seconds from her time in the 200 freestyle preliminaries and .24 seconds from the 100 freestyle preliminaries.

Straume came into the 100 freestyle finals hoping for a little faster time but had to be satisfied with another school record.

“I was pretty pleased with it,” she said.

“Elli did better this year than last,” Erickson said. “She’s only a sophomore.”

Kamiak’s 200 freestyle relay team of Vo, Hatscher, Collinge and Straume took second place. The Knights’ time of 1:38.26 was the fourth fastest in meet history and was close to last year’s winning time of 1:37.74 by the Knights. Two members of that relay team graduated.

“We were really happy,” Straume said. “For us to be able to get that close in time was very exciting.”

Freshman Collinge made an impressive state debut, advancing to the 100 butterfly finals and the 50 freestyle consolation finals. Collinge took sixth in the 100 butterfly and was ninth in the 50 freestyle, winning the consolation finals.

Kamiak senior Naomi Bingham closed out her high school career with a sixth place finish in diving. Bingham, who scored 325.45, placed seventh at last year’s meet. The Knights’ 400 freestyle relay squad of Vo, Hatscher, Taylor Funk and Paige Stinson finished ninth, winning the consolation finals in 3:43.51 and dropping more than two seconds from the preliminary heat.

Vo also placed 11th in the 50 freestyle. Mariner’s Emma Melgardshagen was 10th in the 100 freestyle.

Erickson was named 4A Coach of the Year for the third time, an honor that he credits to the coaching staff and the swimmers.

“I always tell the kids it’s because of you,” Erickson said. “This is yours.”

Newport won the team title with 334 points and was followed by Skyline (200), Wenatchee (185), Kamiak (157) and Jackson (151).

Erickson said that the rivalry with the Timberwolves definitely helped the Knights, who have normally finished behind Jackson at the state meet.

“We’re always battling and pushing each other,” Erickson said. “We squeaked ahead of them. It’s the first time we’ve been ahead of them.”

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