Tatum Benson is only a freshman, but she’s already part of the fourth-fastest 200-yard medley relay team in the state. Benson swims the butterfly portion of the event.
“It’s been really fun,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it.”
She’s swam with good swimmers on the Tacoma Swim Club, but she hasn’t had as much fun as she’s having with this Tides team.
“I’ve never had such a good experience with swimming,” she said. “It’s never been so enjoyable.”
The 200 medley relay was a key part of the Tides first-place finish in the Narrows 4A league championship meet last week. Gig Harbor has now won the Narrows 4A for eight straight years. But it wasn’t a blowout for the Tides — Gig Harbor faced tough competition from Stadium, which jumped out to a big lead early in the meet with its talented sprinters.
But Gig Harbor coach Mike Kelly knew his team was still in a good position to win the meet.
“We were loaded up on the back end,” Kelly said. “As I told the girls on Saturday, Stadium had the race horses and we had the mules.”
The Tides had strong swims from several swimmers. Junior Ursula Andren took second in the 200 individual medley and first in the 100 breast with a time of 1 minute, 7.82 seconds. Junior Alana Ponce also had a strong day, finishing second in the 100 free (57.14) and second in the 100 back (1:02.37).
It was another win for a Gig Harbor program to continues to be the class of the Narrows 4A.
“The last two years have been really close meets,” Kelly said. “That tells you there’s a little more parity between us and Stadium. But I think you have this long outstanding tradition of excellence here at Gig Harbor. As you walk into the pool, you see that on the walls. I often mention there’s a lot of people in the community that have high expectations for the girls.”
Cracking into the top 10 at the Class 4A state meet will be a challenge, but not an impossible one.
“There would have to be some really special swims to get into the top ten,” Kelly said. “We just don’t have the depth that we’ve had in years past. I’ll be thrilled if we can get all three relays back the second day at state. (A) Top 15 (placing) might be doable. I’ll have a much better understanding of that when we get through the district meet.”
One of Gig Harbor’s best chances at a podium finish at state — and possibly a top-three finish — will be in the 200 medley relay.
“Possibly,” Benson said about a top-three finish in the event. “That’s always the goal, but you’ve just got to do it. We just want to do as well as we possibly can.”