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M-P ladies swim and dive team finishes in style
FEDERAL WAY The M-P swim and dive team may have only had three representatives at the 2006 2A/4A state championships Nov. 9-11, but they made the most of it with a 25th place finish out of 36 teams.
Freshman Sarah Clark and junior Trang Vu represented the diving corps and sophomore Kami Girard was the lone swimmer as she qualified in the 100-yard backstroke.
The finals competition of the 2A and 4A swim-dive championships at the King County Aquatics Center has a feeling of excitement, nervousness and all-out adrenaline.
Coach Jaci Legore-Hodgins said it was one of the best state meets for the school.
We brought three kids and to have them all place in the top-10 was awesome, Legore-Hodgins said.
Swimmers and divers enter the pool deck in single file formation with motivational music guiding them. Coaches, fans, parents and friends alike cheer with every stroke and breath propelling the teens toward the awards podium.
While the swimmers walked nervously to the starting blocks, Clark and Vu paraded across the diving board staircase to a building full of applause.
Two days after performing eight dives, the Lady Tomahawk duo had three final dives in their 2006 high school season.
The two said they had opposite post-dive feelings as Clark described her final three dives as a little harder than the prelims and Vu felt a lot better than before.
Junior Vu accomplished her goal of placing among the top-8 in the state with a score of 321.70 points.
Vus eighth-place performance gave her a long sought after position on the navy blue awards podium.
On Thursday (eight-dive preliminary round) I was really confident, but today I had trouble on my last dive.
She described the atmosphere of diving in front of a rapt audience considerably larger than the friendly confines of the M-P pool as really intimidating.
You just learn to focus on yourself, she said of the solitude.
Although Clark was exactly two points behind her teammate she still received a ribbon to show for her first 4A state diving effort as a M-P student.
Clark admitted that she was more nervous than during Thursdays prelims, but seemed to be all smiles afterward regardless.
She may be a freshman, but it was not her first time competing in the building originally built to host the 1990 Goodwill Games.
I placed third out of 46 divers earlier in the season at the Mukilteo Invite, she said.
Diving coach Dick Caldwell was beaming from ear to ear as he watched Vu receive her medallion.
That was awesome. It was a great season and the girls were really easy to work with, Caldwell said.
Its a pleasure to be able to work with these girls. Our goal for next year is to get four divers here and place them all.
Entering the pool deck last in a line of eight of the fastest 100-yard backstroke swimmers in the Evergreen State, Girard had the look of all business.
Less than two minutes later she would see her sophomore M-P season complete with the seventh fastest time of 1:02.93.
Legore-Hodgins was duly impressed as she greeted the affable teen with a large smile and genuine hug.
Coming in here seventh and leaving seventh is a good thing, she said.
The back is a relatively young event as there were only four seniors overall. How much she has improved from her freshman to sophomore season was extreme. Both mentally and physically. What she can do next year the sky is the limit because the versatility is there. Legore-Hodgins noted that in addition to the backstroke, Girard also qualified for state in two other events.
Girard, happy and a little reserved afterward, said she felt pretty good about her performance.
My time was not the best but I am still pretty happy, Girard said.
She placed 15th in the 200-yard freestyle as a freshman and was glad to move up in the standings.
Before the two divers could advance to Saturdays finals competition they had to outlast their peers in a round of eight dives Thursday, Nov. 9.
Both Clark and Vu advanced to the final round of 16 with their top-10 placing in the preliminary round Friday, Nov. 10.
Clark, a former gymnast, didnt appear to be nervous in her first appearance among the states best divers as she came in fifth-place with 166.15 points.
Vu finished in tenth-place with a score of 156.75 in her second consecutive trip to the King County Aquatics Center.
Both divers performed eight dives and will complete the 11-dive performance Saturday, Nov. 11 in the finals.
Coach Jaci Legore-Hodgins said that given there are only two M-P divers its a good feeling to have them place so high.
Bob Regan, the meets public address announcer for the last 60 years was recognized for his 78th birthday Friday, Nov. 11.