OLYMPIA — After the third go-round of the South Sound Relays on Saturday at The Evergreen College, one thing swimmers said they enjoyed was the different sort of competition.
The individualism of swimming was put aside for an afternoon. The event has a flavor of friendly competition, and the 11-event, all-relay invitational brings out the best teamwork in swimmers.
“That’s what’s fun about this meet,” said North Thurston senior Tyler Ridgeway, who swam in three of the Rams’ five meet-record setting relays. “You are working as a team. This is fun.”
Olympia won the annual event with 478 points. North Thurston was second with 403 points followed by Aberdeen (268). Capital (254), Steilacoom (245) and Lakes (164) rounded out the six-team invitational.
Ridgeway, an all-area baseball player recently accepted into the United States Naval Academy, swam on the Rams’ 400-yard medley (3 minutes, 53.73 seconds), 2x50 freestyle (45.46), and 400 freestyle (3:28.89) relays.
The 2x50 freestyle record was sparked by Scott Harn’s leadoff time of 22.69, which was a Class 3A state qualifying time.
Harn said he had a good feeling about swimming a state-qualifying time, even hitting the wall hard and jamming a finger on his left hand. The finger was OK.
“I didn’t feel tired at all,” Harn said.
Eight of the 11 events saw meet-record times – five by North Thurston (400 medley, 2x50 freestyle, 2x100 freestyle, 2x100 breaststroke and 400 freestyle) and three by Olympia (2x100 medley, 200 freestyle and 2x100 backstroke).
Olympia’s day not only was highlighted by its first-place team finish and three meet records, but sophomore Garrett Carson recorded a 4A state-qualifying time when he led off the 2x100 butterfly, and paired with Keenan Anderson for a winning time of 1:55.17. Carson’s 54.66 split time easily surpassed the 55.30 4A qualifying standard.
Carson said he didn’t even look at the clock at first to see his time, instead turning to his left to see the reaction of his teammates, who were loudly cheering him in the final yards of his swim.
“I looked over at all of those guys to see their faces, so I knew what to expect,” said Carson, who also swam in the Bears’ record-setting 2x100 medley and 200 free relays. “It took them a second to realize what it was, and then they exploded. I looked up at the clock and it was nice to see that time.”
In all 11 events, the first-place team came from either Olympia or North Thurston.
Capital had four relays finish in the top four, including third-place times in the 2x100 butterfly (2:03.51) and 200 freestyle (1:40.92).
Aberdeen, the top team in the 2A Evergreen Conference, had four top-four relays, including a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle (138.84).