Othello's Ruiz beats state champs

SWIMMING: Natilee Ruiz captures both 2A freestyle events

November 13, 2010 

FEDERAL WAY - For several South Sound swimmers, the finals of the 2A girls state swim meet at the King County Aquatic Center were about personal bests - or, in one case, besting a sibling.

Tumwater sophomore Abby Sullivan (200 freestyle) and Centralia sophomore Abigail Messegee (500 free) were defending state champions, but both knew that Natilee Ruiz, a junior from Othello, was back after sitting out last season.

Ruiz cruised to an All-American consideration time of 1 minute, 51.43 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle and took the 500 freestyle in 5:00.84, giving her four meet records.

Sullivan placed fifth in the 200 (1:59.40), while Messegee, who was second in 2009, was runner-up again (1:56.47).

Messegee (5:13.23) also finished second in the 500 freestyle behind Ruiz.

“The thing is, she’s really good,” Messegee said of Ruiz. “So it’s not too big a disappointment to lose to her”

Sullivan, who placed second in the 100 backstroke with a personal best of 1:00.93, struggled this season with an iron deficiency and a shoulder injury.

“I was really happy with how I did,” she said. “I’ll come back next year and hopefully reclaim some titles.”

River Ridge junior Shanell Sullenberger was second in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.75), moving up one spot from last year.

More important, she beat her twin sister, Kiana, by .15 of a second, reversing their order of finish from last year’s state meet.

“I didn’t know she beat me,” Kiana said. “I was kind of shocked. But if I have to lose, I’d rather lose to my sister.”

“She beat me most of the time,” Shanell said, referring to the regular season. “So this feels good.”

In the 4A prelims, Olympia senior Clara Heffernan finished third (5:06.98) in the 500 freestyle, an accomplishment she called “all psychological.”

Capital senior Amanda Clark is seeded fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:56.99) and 500 free (5:12.15).

“I’m really excited to be in the top eight,” Clark said. “They weren’t my best times – but I’ll do that tomorrow.”

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