FEDERAL WAY - North Thurston High's Eric Solveson deserved the tough-guy award at the Class 2A state swimming and diving championships Friday at the King County Aquatic Center.
Wincing in pain from a broken toe on his right foot, Solveson leaned on guts and guile in moving past the preliminary round in two events.
“It was throbbing every time I kicked,” said Solveson, who swam a leg on North Thurston’s 200-yard medley relay team that qualified fifth. He later qualified eighth in the 100-yard backstroke.
The top eight finishers in Friday’s preliminary round move on to today’s finals, which begin at 2:30 p.m.
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Solveson broke a bone in his big toe when a classmate accidentally dropped a 10-pound barbell on it during PE class Monday.
“I’m in there trying to get stronger for next season and then this happens,” said Solveson, a junior who had his right foot wrapped with tape Friday. “It was just a freak accident.”
Solveson’s injury may have crippled North Thurston’s goal of a top-10 finish in the team standings, but coach Jak Ayres isn’t counting out his team just yet. He was buoyed by the Rams making the finals in the 400 freestyle relay – Friday’s final qualifying event – even though he felt compelled to pull an increasingly ailing Solveson in that one.
“That shows what these kids are about,” Ayres said. “We had a ton of PRs (personal records) today.”
Junior Cameron Peterson was in the PR mix, qualifying fifth in the 100 butterfly in 55.78 seconds and logging legs on the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay.
River Ridge junior Michael Evans qualified fourth in the 1-meter diving competition.
Two-time defending 2A champion Sehome of Bellingham got off to a strong start in its bid for another title, posting the No. 1 qualifying times in four events and the second-fastest times in two others.
Renton’s Steve Sholdra shattered the 2A meet record in the 500 freestyle, clocking 4 minutes, 36.76 seconds. The old mark of 4:59.96 was set by Sehome’s Jordan Fish in 2009.
The 4A preliminary round was dominated by Eastlake freshman sensation Edward Kim, who set himself up for a possible four state titles.
Kim easily churned his way to the fastest qualifying times in the 50 and 100 freestyle events with times of 21.43 and 46.38, respectively. He also swam a leg on Eastlake’s 200 freestyle relay, which posted a 4A best time of 1:30.7, and had a hand in the Wolves’ No. 2 qualifying time in the 200 medley relay.
Kim’s stiffest competition in the freestyle races could come from fellow freshman Chase Bublitz of Kentridge, who qualified second in both events with personal-best times.
Capital hoped to make a bit of splash in the 3A meet Friday, but its only notable qualifying effort was turned in by Jacob Williams, who registered the fourth-fastest time in the 100 freestyle.