Tommies well-represented at state

M-P senior Gabe Lopez opens the 200 medley relay with the backstroke. -
M-P senior Gabe Lopez opens the 200 medley relay with the backstroke.
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MARYSVILLE — If it’s true that what goes around, comes around, then M-P swimming must be doing something right.

While Marysville wasn’t exactly lacking depth in the breaststroke, they lost one of their fastest in the event for the rest of the postseason. Nevertheless, in a stroke of good fortune, another Tomahawk stepped up in the event.

In the district preliminaries, sophomore Connor Hemming — a varsity diver — cleaved five and a half seconds off of his time in the breaststroke to swim his first state time of the year. He improved from a 1:08.23 to 1:02.84, well under the 1:03.90 standard for state.

“It was a real surprise,” said boys coach Scott Knowles. “We just got lucky. He swam really well.”

Hemming stepped into the 200 medley relay for the finals a day later, Feb. 13. Already qualified for state, the relay was within reach of winning the event final but placed third behind Kamiak and Cascade, just .03 behind the Bruin team.

In addition to Hemming, junior diver Zach Russell had his first state-qualifying performance at districts, placing fourth in diving with a score of 321.15.

While the Tomahawks already had the maximum number of individual slots at state secured by Trevor LeValley (200 individual medley and 100 butterfly), Gabe Lopez (100 freestyle and 100 backstroke) and Oliver Durand (200 freestyle and 500 freestyle), three more Tomahawks found out they’re state-bound by virtue of their district swims.

Senior Brody Coleman, who was already part of the state-qualified 400 freestyle relay, earned a wild card to state in the 500 freestyle. Junior Brandon Caldwell, who finished the district final virtually tied with Hemming, will join his teammate at state in the 100 breaststroke, another wild-card winner. Freshman Josh Estella wild-carded into state in the 100 backstroke.

“We’ve just been solid,” Knowles said. “All the kids had been shaved and tapered. All but one had personal bests.”

The boys placed third as a team, behind Shorewood and district champion Kamiak. In all, they’ll have at least one swimmer in each event at the state meet except the 50 freestyle.

The state swim meet is Feb. 20 and 21 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

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