High School Sports

Cougars claim rivalry win

OLYMPIA - If there's something to look forward to in the years to come with a Capital vs. Olympia rivalry, it just might be the girls swim teams.

Why?

The youth do a lot of the damage for both teams, which has many people excited for what's in store.

But on Tuesday, it was the combination of Capital's youth and depth that proved to be too much down the stretch as the Cougars defeated Olympia 103-67 in their nonconference dual meet at The Evergreen State College pool.

"This meet had a lot of energy, and our kids swam fast," Capital coach Burke Anderson said. "The rivalry is something that fuels this thing and I really applaud Olympia. They swam some best times, and that helps elevate both teams."

Freshman Amanda Clark won two races for Capital, while Olympia freshmen Clara Heffernan and Kathryn Culhane, combined for four of the Bears' six first-place finishes.

"It's very encouraging," Olympia coach Mel Smith said of his young swimmers. "The freshmen are on the leading edge. Of our seven freshmen, five are doing exceptionally well."

Heffernan, who has already qualified for the Class 4A state swim meet in the 500, 200 and 100 freestyles, won the 200 IM (2 minutes, 17.88 seconds) and 100 freestyle (56.04). She also teamed with Culhane, Marissa Maurer and Bridget Braley to win the 200 medley relay at 2:06.88. Culhane also claimed first-place in the 50 freestyle (26.97) and 100 breaststroke (1:16.99).

"I wish I was faster," Heffernan said. "I'm happy with my times, but not excited or overjoyed."

As for Clark, who has qualified for the 3A district meet in her events, she is also close to the Class 3A state qualifying times. She took the 200 freestyle at 2:05.10 and the 100 fly in 1:03.55. The majority of the swimmers in the 100 fly were upperclassmen. Clark also was part of the Cougars' winning 400 freestyle relay, in which the Cougars went 1-2-3 to finish the meet.

"It's exciting to beat older swimmers who are a lot more experienced than me," Clark said. "Even though we're younger it doesn't mean we're slower."

"The cool thing with Amanda is that there is still more room for improvement," Anderson said. "This is a girl who has a lot of growth in her and a lot more potential."

The depth of the Cougars showed in the back half of the meet. Despite having only five first-place finishes, the Cougars racked up the points with numerous second- and third-place marks.

Gwyn Browning, another key freshman for Capital, earned two second-place finishes, in the 200 IM (2:30.57) and 100 backstroke (1:10.20).

Cougars junior Emily Fondaw won the 100 backstroke (1:08.06) and in the process, qualified for the district swim meet. The time was her best this season by five seconds.

"In the back end of the meet, I think our depth and experience overpowered Olympia," Anderson said. "Nobody is a finished product so far. We're getting hungry. We're starting to get that fuel and that's going to carry them the rest of the season."

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