When the water settled for the final time on Sam Abbott’s career, the scoreboard at the King County Aquatic Center showed that he and his Curtis teammates had come in fourth place for the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Their time was 3 minutes, 13.06 seconds. But the fourth-place finish wasn’t what Abbott was thinking about.
“We dropped two seconds from our preliminary time from yesterday,” he said. “Everyone had good swims, and we left it all in the pool. Our team did really good.”
As a team, the Vikings finished fifth overall in the 4A swimming championships on Saturday, earning 180 points on the day. Camas took first with 302 points.
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Abbott was among five Curtis seniors swimming in their last state championships — the others were David Ling, Dan Melin, Matthew Patterson and Josh Arnold — but that doesn’t discourage coach Dennis Piccolotto.
“I told the guys that I am proud of this senior group,” he said. “The leadership over the last few years will carry over in the future. I wouldn’t know what 2018 will look like, but after today, pieces are falling into place and I expect them to be back.”
Some returning Vikings juniors will be Alex Hwang, Jorge Melendez and Abhi Larson, all of whom got important state experience competing in relays and individual events.
Melendez finished 11th overall in the 200 IM with a time of 1:59.82; Arnold earned fifth in the 500 freestyle at 4:48.97; and Hwang was on the fourth-place team for the 400 free relay.
“Coming in we were prepared, we were tapered,” Abbott said. “I think we had a great meet. We ended on a good note to end a long year.”
And for Abbott, he’s come a long way since his freshman year swimming only in the 200 free relay.
The next highest scoring team from the South Sound was Kentridge, led by Jake Davies.
Davies, another senior, finished sixth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 breast stroke.
“I was seeded better in both events. The IM went better because I dropped .04 (off my preliminary time),” he said. “I did all right — I wanted that fairy tale ending where I break both records.”
But Davies was more enthusiastic about his teammates Hans Erickson and Sean Gilman, both of whom swam with Davies on the 12th-place 200 medley relay team.
“In the relays, everyone has dropped significant time, especially Erickson,” he said. “He swims summer league with me and he went from :52 during the season to :48 here. (Gilman) is truly what a high school swimmer should be, committed to the team — and he was co-captain with me.”
The Chargers finished 17th overall with 43 points. Other notable finishes were South Kitsap’s Jason Gleason taking home first place in diving with a score of 474.20 and Nicholas Ainsworth from Tahoma getting fifth place in the 50 free after finishing at 22.00.
OLYMPIA’S WALKER ‘VERY SATISFIED’
Zachary Walker was critical in Olympia’s success as he placed in four events on the day, including a 13th-place finish in the 50 free with a time of 22.41.
“It feels very good, honestly. I feel very accomplished and very satisfied with this last swim,” he said. “It’s very weird though, because I always thought that I’ll be back next year, but I am going to graduate this year.”
The Bears also saw a 14th-place finish from the 200 freestyle relay team that included Walker, with a time of 1:33.13.
“There’s always pressure, but it feels different because it’s my last race and I have all my friends with me,” he said. “It just felt like a sigh of relief.”
Even though he didn’t get the time he wanted, Walker is happily satisfied swimming four years at the state championships.
RIVER RIDGE RELAY SETS SCHOOL RECORD
The bar for River Ridge swimming continues to get set higher and higher, and the one pushing it is Christian Provost.
Provost, a junior, set two personal records in his 50 free (22.66) and 100 free (50.83), and he helped set a school record for the Hawks in the 200 freestyle relay.
“It was a pretty good day. For my senior year, I plan to pick up right where I left off,” he said. “It’s good taking a step towards a better future.”
He also plans to make it back to the championships for his senior season.
“If I don’t make it back, it will be a huge disappointment,” he said. “I treat every minute like it’s my last. I plan to lift weights and add 10 pounds to my frame.”