Mitchell Crossen didn’t intend for his walk-up song selection Saturday afternoon to tell the story of his race — but it turned out that way.
The Rogers High senior, and No. 1 seed in the 100-yard freestyle final at the Class 4A boys swimming and diving championships, chose the recent hit song “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy. And he followed it up with a performance at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way that will ensure he’s remembered by the Rogers faithful for many of them.
Crossen soared off the starting block and maintained a lead of a body’s length for most of the race, finishing with a first place, All-American consideration time of 45.97. He defeated second-place finisher Eben Schumann from Kamiak by 0.93 seconds.
“It’s been my best race all year,” Crossen said. “I felt good during warmups, so I knew it was going to be a good swim. Everything went perfect in the race and I pulled off a great time.”
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Perfect indeed. It was a finish propelled by four years of work that rendered his coach, Stefani Fersch, at a near loss for words.
“He gets everything he deserves, and that was amazing,” Fersch said. “I don’t know what else to say, I mean, he won by a second.”
Crossen also placed fourth in the 50-yard freestyle at 21.72, adding 0.31 seconds to his second-seeded preliminary time. Ultimately, it became more of a precursor to the main event.
“It was a little slower than my prelim time, but still a good time,” he said. “It was good to swim the 50 right before the 100 to get a feel and get the jitters out.”
In the 24-hour period between the preliminaries Friday and the finals, Crossen said he kept a low profile, tried to stay calm, ate some dinner and went to bed.
“Tonight will probably be a bit more exciting,” he said.
For a freshly crowned state champion, “a bit more exciting” might be an understatement.
In the Class 3A team competition, Bellevue cleaned house, scoring 406 points. Mercer Island finished a distant second at 225. Auburn Mountainview was the only SPSL team to finish in the top 10. It placed ninth with 90 points.
“It says a lot about the depth at our school,” Lions senior Luke Lavine said. “Our team has been sort of continuous, we’re always right there. This year we pulled ahead.”
Lavine placed fourth in the 100-yard freestyle (47.82), and fifth in the 50-yard freestyle (21.70). Auburn Mountainview took fifth in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:30.13) and seventh in the 200-yard medley relay (1:42.55).
Steilacoom junior James Scott crushed his own meet record during the Class 2A 100-yard breaststroke preliminaries (58.68) by more than a second in the finals, finishing with a 2A championship win in an All-American consideration time of 57.50.
“I was just thinking about keeping my head down and just going fast,” Scott said. Scott also placed fifth in the 50-yard free at 22.05.
The Sentinels placed second in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:31.21).
Anacortes (226) edged Sehome (225) for the 2A team title, while Steilacoom jumped into fifth with 155 points after placing fifth in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:22.91) to end the meet.