Fun was a recurring theme in conversations about the sixth annual South Sound Relays on Saturday at The Evergreen State College.
Teams got some work done, too.
In a midseason all-relay boys swimming meet dominated by its host, Olympia High School, four meet records were set and a raft of swimmers earned postseason qualifying times.
“Everybody seems to have a good time,” said Olympia head coach Mel Smith, who established the meet in 2011.
The leadoff swimmer’s split time in every event can be used for district and state qualifying times, and that motivates athletes to swim fast, coaches and swimmers said.
Smith’s Bears, the only Thurston County team to participate, won nine of the 11 events to easily outdistance the field in team scoring. Olympia compiled 1,010 points, followed by Shelton with 808, Steilacoom 798, South Kitsap 604, Lakes 538, Central Kitsap 472 and Aberdeen 394.
Olympia posted a record in the meet’s second event, the two-man 200-yard freestyle relay.
Seniors Ben Matthews and Alex Hougan smashed their own meet record, set last year, by more than nine seconds with their time of 3:50.69.
The two noted that the event is not contested anywhere but at this meet, like all the two-person races and several others, but it was still good to defend their title in record fashion.
“It’s a fun meet,” Hougan said.
The fun continued for Hougan and Matthews, along with senior Eli Champagne and junior James Waltz, with a record-setting performance in the 4x200 relay. The quartet’s time of 7:44.61 easily eclipsed the meet mark of 8:08.23 and bettered an Olympia school record that had stood since 1976.
Shelton earned a second-place team trophy without benefit of a first-place finish, but finished second in the 2x50 relay (Alex Brown-Garcia and Jon Netzel) and the 2x100 (Brown-Garcia and Ryan Youngquist).
Steilacoom was the first team to wrest an event from the Bears’ grasp, with the Sentinels foursome of Connor Barr, William Taylor, Seth Koivisto and Steven Froehle winning the 200 free relay in a meet-record time of 1:35.77.
The only other team to claim a first-place finish was Lakes, with Preston Bocchi and P.J. Fischer teaming to win the 2x100 backstroke relay in a meet-record time of 1:54.61.