Olympia out-touched Gig Harbor in the final race, but the Tides swam away with the win.
“This is the closest we’ve been in quite a few years,” Olympia coach Mel Smith said.
The Tides — who took fifth at the 4A state meet last season — edged the Bears, 92-84, in a meet that hovered around a 10-point margin until the final three races, when Gig Harbor pulled away.
With the win, Gig Harbor (3-0) delivered Olympia (3-1) its first loss of the season. It was the first meet for either team where the point separation was less than 40.
Never miss a local story.
“I would have meets like this every time if I could,” Gig Harbor coach Mike Kelly said.
The Tides had eight first-place finishes, while Olympia had four.
Honour Middleton picked up first-place finishes in the 100-yard butterfly and as the anchor in the 400-yard freestyle relay for the Bears.
She said swimming against the Tides propelled her to a personal-best time in the 100 fly at 1 minute, 6.76 seconds.
“Since those two Gig Harbor girls were right next to me — I saw them underwater and they were kicking faster than me — I thought, ‘I’ve got to hop up out of the water and start swimming,’” Middelton said.
Melissa Ward, Maya Hansen-Tilkens, Lacey Wright and Middleton posted a 5:29.41 in the 400 freestyle relay to fend off a surging Tides team that chipped away at nearly a four-stroke lead by the Bears coming into the final turn.
“As I did that last turn at the 75(-yard mark), I saw her in my peripheral vision, and that was my cue to just leave it all out in the pool,” Middleton said.
Wright also edged Gig Harbor’s Tatum Benson in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:29.41 — which bested Tatum by only 0.42 seconds.
“Just being able to compete against each other brings out the best swims in the athletes,” Kelly said. “Up until now, we’ve just been going through the motions with some of these teams, so it’s nice when you get a really competitive meet.”
Ursula Andren led Gig Harbor with four first-place finishes, including the 50-yard freestyle (26.08) and 100-yard breaststroke (1:08.38) — that time beat the 4A state-qualifying standard of 1:09.9. Andren also swam legs of the 200-yard medley relay (1:58.04) and 200-yard freestyle relay (1:48.43) for the Tides.
RAMS STILL UNDEFEATED
The North Thurston Rams kept their seven-year undefeated streak alive with a 103-63 win over 3A Narrows rival Capital.
North Thurston hasn’t lost a dual in 58 meets, and picked up nine first-place finishes in 11 events — neither team competes in diving.
Arielle Howell had individual wins in the 50 freestyle (26.54) and 100 freestyle (57.34).
Capital freshman Ale Nooney won the 100-yard backstroke (1:05.36), and swam the second leg of the 400 free relay, which finished first at 4:01.42.
Lauren Smith: 360-754-5473