Two of the South Sound’s best swimmers simply haven’t got time for the pain.
Megan Kawaguchi of Mount Rainier and Kenna Ramey of Federal Way have battled back injuries for a year, but both were unstoppable in the water at Saturday’s South Puget Sound League championship meet, winning two events apiece.
Kawaguchi, a junior at Mount Rainier, said that she wasn’t expecting to swim a state-qualifying time of 55.77 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke. But she did. She also improved upon her previous state time in the 200 individual medley, finishing in 2:11.73.
“Tonight was my comeback,” she said. “I needed to prove to myself that I’ve still got it and it’s nice to know I’m back where I want to be.
“It’s a great confidence boost.”
Ramey, who also injured her shoulder last year, swam season-best times of 24.52 in the 50 freestyle and 58.87 in the 100 butterfly. Both are Class 4A state-qualifying times.
“It was better than what I’ve been doing, so I’m happy,” she said. “I think I was more prepared for this meet than the others.”
Ramey said she has been relying on ice and heat on her injuries to make it through the season.
“I’ve learned how to swim with pain,” she said. “It’s difficult (but) swimming is what I love, so I do whatever I can to try and keep going.”
Mount Rainier crushed the competition at the Rogers pool, winning all three relays and racking up 322 points. Kentlake finished a distant second with 162, and Curtis rounded out the top three with 159.
“It was a tremendous day,” said Rams coach Chris Veraya, who called his team an energetic group. “We had a lot of good swims and a lot of personal bests. I’m really proud of my girls.”
Curtis junior Hannah Holly said that her victory in the 100 freestyle, in 56.04, was the result of focusing solely on what needed to get done.
“I know I have the stroke down,” she said. “It’s just a mental game in my mind right now.”
Holly said she is about a second off a state-qualifying time, and that she plans to have “tunnel vision” at next week’s district meet.
“I know I can do it if I put my mind to it,” she said.
Other individual winners were Mount Rainier senior Jackie Beal (5:27.41 in the 500 free), Kentlake sophomore Laura Williams (1:11.78 in the 100 breaststroke) and Emerald Ridge sophomore Alana Pries (1:59.45 in the 200 freestyle).
Thomas Jefferson senior Shelby Church won the diving competition, with 342.50 points.