A year ago, a shoulder injury forced Erik Solveson to switch events in swimming, putting him in the backstroke.
He didn’t know it would become his best event.
Today, Solveson, a North Thurston junior, is the top seed for the 100-yard backstroke at the 2A District 4 swim meet today and Saturday at Longview.
“We had to pull Erik out of a couple of events last year,” North Thurston coach Jak Ayres said. “The backstroke was the only event that didn’t hurt his shoulder.”
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Solveson is one of 22 Rams qualified for district, making them one of the meet favorites, along with Aberdeen. Aberdeen has four No. 1 seeds.
Solveson is North Thurston’s only top seed. The Rams have four swimmers seeded second – Cameron Peterson in the 100 butterfly, Tyler Ridgeway in the 50 freestyle, Brady Neeley in the 100 freestyle, and Scott Harn in the 100 breaststroke.
“The 100 back has got to be my favorite stroke,” Solveson said. “It was the only stroke I could do last year. That’s bound to make you better.”
North Thurston’s 400 freestyle relay, which is made up of Peterson, Solveson, Neely and Nathan Anderson, is also seeded second.
On paper, Ayres said, it’s between North Thurston and Aberdeen for the district title.
“It’s too close to call,” Ayres said. “One race could make the difference. We’re very excited. But we don’t have any divers and they have two. So, we could beat them in the pool and still lose.”
Solveson’s time of 58.7 seconds in the 100 backstroke is nearly two seconds faster than the No. 2 entry. He’s seeded third in the 200 individual medley, in 2:13.3.
North Thurston finished the season undefeated in dual meets and beat Aberdeen, 100-79.
“It’s not totally surprising,” Ayres said about his team’s finish. “I saw the enthusiasm they had last season and all summer. But I didn’t expect to win all our meets.”
Only the winner of each race today gets an automatic entry to state. Others can advance on the basis of having one of the top times in the state in their events.
“We have a lot of depth, a lot of fast swimmers,” Peterson said. “Things have gone pretty good for us. I’m kind of surprised.”
Ayres, with only one senior on his team, said his swimmers are big-meet performers.
“They can handle the pressure,” he said. “They swam their best against Aberdeen, which was our toughest competition.
“They’ll be ready.”
River Ridge has the two top seeds in diving. Michael Evans is seeded first and Moey Mailhot is second. River Ridge’s Justice Dutton is seeded fourth in the 100 breaststroke.
Hockinson’s Callum Mackintosh is the top seed in both the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.
The meet starts at 4 p.m. today at Mark Morris High School and resumes tomorrow with the finals starting at 1 p.m.