Flinch dampens Sentinels’ day

Contributing writerFebruary 23, 2014 

The final race of the evening for the Steilacoom High School boys swim team should have been the equivalent of a victory lap to celebrate the school’s first Class 2A state team title.

The Sentinels had the title all wrapped up Saturday afternoon at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. They needed to finish the 400-yard freestyle relay — a race in which they were the top seed — to seal the deal.

But then the unthinkable happened.

The team was disqualified when its leadoff swimmer had a slight shoulder flinch on the block.

That meant Archbishop Murphy, which placed second in the relay, took home the team title with 185 points, while Anacortes was second with 178 points. Steilacoom and Lindbergh (172 apiece) settled for a tie for third.

“This stuff happens sometimes, and I saw it when it happened,” Steilacoom coach Kathy Casey said. “It’s very unfortunate.”

The disqualification put a damper on the state meet for Steilacoom, whose third-place finish is still the best in school history.

“It’s a tough one to swallow,” said senior Benjamin Scott, who was voted top 2A swimmer of the meet. “But it’s been a phenomenal season for us.”

Scott took the 100 butterfly with a time of 50.34 seconds (an All-America consideration time). He broke a meet record in winning the 100 backstroke in 51.19.

“I’m really happy with my swims,” said Scott, who will swim at the University of Utah next season. “Those were my two best times.”

Sophomore James Scott, Ben’s brother, also nabbed a state title, finishing the 100 breaststroke in 59.56. Steilacoom took home a title in the 200 medley relay (1 minute, 39.79 seconds).

“Everyone had such amazing swims today,” said Casey, who was voted coach of the meet.

James Scott added a fourth-place finish in the 200 individual medley (2:01.04), while Andrew Gonzalez was fifth in the 200 free (1:52.10). Gonzalez also finished sixth in the 100 free (49.84).

Steilacoom senior Ryan Shipes was fourth in diving with a score of 349.25. Archbishop Murphy’s Elliott Forde (372.00) won the 2A diving title.

Other area 2A finishers included Washington High junior Jaycob Davies, who finished second in the 200 free (1:47.62). He also finished fourth in the 500 free (4:58.09).


Senior Caleb Riggs led the Peninsula Seahawks to a sixth-place state finish in the Class 3A meet.

Riggs won the 100 breaststroke, recording a time of 56.98.

“It feels awesome,” Riggs said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do forever. It feels good.”

In the final leg, Bellevue’s Morgan Ciliv caught up to Riggs, but the Peninsula standout edged him out. Ciliv was second in 57.17.

Riggs also finished third (1:53.63) in the 200 IM.

Peninsula junior Paul Friedman (381.60) was second in diving, while Shorecrest’s Aaron Moss (451.80) won the 3A title. Mercer Island took the 3A team title with 337 points.

Staff writer Todd Milles contributed to this report.

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