FEDERAL WAY — Olympic freshman Dietrich Meyer made history for the Trojans when he barreled to the finish in the 50-yard freestyle to win his, and the school’s, first state swimming championship.
Meyer held off the field of seven other finalists to win the splash-and-dash in 21.50 seconds, narrowly out-touching Steven Froehle of Steilacoom in 21.53 at the Class 2A boys swimming and diving championships Saturday night at the King County Aquatics Center.
Meyer added another state title in the 100 freestyle in a meet record 46.56 later on, edging Columbia River’s Rob Meade in 46.68. Meyer’s teammate Ross Burchell finally stepped to the top of the podium in the 500 freestyle after finishing second the past two seasons.
Olympic put a stamp on its performance with a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay, and two fourth-place finishes in the 400 free and 200 medley relays.
The Trojans placed fourth overall as a team with 231 points.
Kingston wasn’t able to repeat as state champions, finishing third overall with 236.5 points. Anacortes won the team title with a score of 249 followed by Liberty of Renton with 241 in one of the closest meets in 2A history.
“I think everyone did amazing,” said Oly freshman Ryan Burchell, who finished fourth in the 500 freestyle and sixth in the 200 free. “We really pulled together as a team, and everyone did their part. It was really great.”
“I went personal best times today, and everyone got personal bests,” said Trojan Haakon Meyer. The junior placed sixth in the 100 backstroke and eighth in the 100 free. “We were 16 points from first place.”
The Meyers in some form, whether it was Dietrich, his twin Rainer, or Haakon were involved in all three relays. The 200 and 400 free relays were second while the medley relay finished fourth.
“These guys are so awesome,” said Olympic coach Paul Henderson. Henderson said it’s typical for his swimmers to come to him after a race and ask what they need to improve on instead of relishing a win or best time.
“They’re already looking for something to improve on even though they swam great,” Henderson added. “(Friday) they swam out of their minds and (Saturday) they’re doing it again. Dieter did awesome.”
Ross Burchell’s 4:33.46 win in the 500 gave the Trojans their second champion and the junior, who had finished second twice before, swam the event very well. Burchell had splits of 27 to 28 seconds but brought it home in a healthy 26.59 in the final 50 and wouldn’t be denied, outdistancing runner-up Warren Briggs of Liberty by more than three seconds — an eternity in swimming — in 4:36.16.
“It just meant a lot to me,” Burchell said. “I was pretty mad after last year after I got second again.”
Burchell was thrilled to share the moment with his teammates and bring home a team trophy.
“We came so far as a team this year,” he said. “Everybody got so much faster. These last two day we dropped so much time.”
Dietrich Meyer couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear while accepting his first-place medal in both the 50 and 100 freestyles.
“During the (50) race I wasn’t even thinking about it, I just did it,” he said.
Meyer wanted to set a good pace for himself in the first 50 yards of the 100 then bring it home as quick as he could. Meyer touched the wall just .12 seconds ahead of Mead from Columbia River.
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“I knew I had him the last 25,” he said.
Meyer couldn’t have asked for a better debut.
“I’ve been looking forward for high school swimming for most of my life, obviously,” he said. “And now that I’m here and we’re making such a change at our high school it’s really awesome. It’s kind of amazing.”
And while it was a historic meet for the Trojans, Kingston couldn’t quite pull off its own landmark repeat as state champions. But there were too many good moments to feel disappointed Bucs coach Mark Van Huis said.
“They swam their hearts out,” he said. “They left everything in the pool. We had four All-American either consideration or automatic times and two state meet records. How could you ask any more than that?”
Tim Gallagher lived up to his rankings all season with wins in the 200 individual medley in 1:50.10, dropping 5.01 seconds from his prelim time, while teammate Ethan Fox, the defending champ, was second in 1:52.33. Gallagher also won the 100 backstroke in 49.42, holding off Holden Ellsworth in 50.87.
Van Huis told the team before Saturday’s finals to just swim and put everything aside, Gallagher said, and that’s what he did.
“I was a little upset because I wanted to go 1:49 but I messed up the flip turn in the freestyle. But I went a best time. I can’t be too upset.”
The mistake is what keeps driving him to get better.
“That’s the thing about competitive sports,” he said. “There’s always something you can do to get better.”
Aron Markow came away with a second-place finish in the 100 breaststroke in 57.15, AAC time, while North Kitsap’s Alex Stefanski was eighth.
“We knew he could do it he just had to put two 50s together to make it happen and get it,” Van Huis said of Markow, who was also eighth in the 50 free.
The Buccaneers won the 200 medley relay in 1:33.55, a meet record, for the third year in a row. They also won the 400 free in a meet record 3:12.91.
“I can’t be disappointed (with third overall)” Gallagher said. “Everyone on our team swam up to expectations, exceeded expectations. We can’t ask anything else of them. There’s things that could have happened, and we would have won … but, that’s not how it happened so you can’t be upset.”
Bremerton’s Nathan Rubie finished third in the 100 butterfly in 51.12. Rubie was attempting to become the first Bremerton swimmer to win an individual title since 2006. Rubie came out fast in the first 50 with a split of 23.39 but fell back to third with a slower back half in 27.73.
North Kitsap’s Nathan Ramey was second in the 200 free. Ramey also finished third in the 500 free while Ryan Burchell of Olympic was fifth.
Klahowya’s Mason Heaman placed fourth in the 50 free in 21.75. Heaman only started swimming any meaningful yardage the last three weeks after overcoming knee surgery that forced him to miss the state meet last season.
NK’s Nathan Ramey finished second in the 200 free behind Columbia River’s Josh Bottelberghe. Ramey touched the wall in 1:42.33, behind Bottelberghe’s time of 1:40.13.
Vikings’ Brandon Anderson was fourth in the 100 fly and sixth in the 50 free. Kingston’s Quincy Walker was sixth in the fly. Kingston’s Fox placed third in the 100 free.
North Kitsap finished in seventh place, Klahowya 14th, Bremerton 21st, Port Angeles 23rd and Sequim 25th for Olympic League teams.
Henderson named WISCA coach of the year
Olympic head coach Paul Henderson was named the coach of the year by the Washington Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (WISCA).
Henderson joins a long-list of Kitsap coaches who earned the honor including Kingston coach Mark Van Huis last season, North Kitsap’s Greg Braun, Klahowya’s Diana Peterson and Bainbridge’s Kaycee Taylor, all on the boys’ side.
Olympic assistant coach Patti Matthew won the award when she coached at Central Kitsap, and former Bainbridge girls coach Greg Colby was also a past winner.