High School Sports

Willow Lopez-Silvers swims Curtis to first district title in almost 20 years

WATCH: Highlights from the 4A West Central District girls swimming championships

Willow Lopez-Silvers won the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and helped the Vikings win both the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay as Curtis scored 326 points to second-place Kentrige’s 252 in the district swimming championships on Saturday
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Willow Lopez-Silvers won the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and helped the Vikings win both the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay as Curtis scored 326 points to second-place Kentrige’s 252 in the district swimming championships on Saturday

The Curtis High School girls swimming team will get a well-deserved breather on Monday.

That’s apparently what happens when you win your first 4A West Central District girls swimming title since 1998.

But that break won’t be long-lived.

“Monday — no practice!” Curtis coach Holly Arasim proclaimed to her cheering team.

“Tuesday — we will be back in action and I’m going to hurt you,” she said, smiling. “But Monday you get a rest day.”

Willow Lopez-Silvers won the 50-yard freestyle, 100 freestyle and helped the Vikings win both the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay as Curtis scored 326 points to second-place Kentridge’s 252 in the district girls swimming championships on Saturday at the Curtis Aquatic Center.

“It’s really good for this team,” Lopez-Silvers said. “We just hope this carries over well into state.”

As long as her illness doesn’t carry over with it.

Lopez-Silvers, the reigning 100 freestyle 4A state champion, could barely speak because she was so out of breath and her voice so raspy.

But, still, she set the tone for the meet leading off in the backstroke of the 200 medley relay, with Curtis finishing in first place in 1 minute, 52.35 seconds. Then she finished in a season-best time in the 50 freestyle in 24.64 seconds, edging second-place Lindsey Hanger of Tahoma (24.94).

Lopez-Silvers then beat Hanger in the 100 freestyle in 53.51 seconds — also a season-best time. Though it was slower than the 52.39 she swam in the 4A state finals to win the title last year.

“She was feverish yesterday and was kind of fevery earlier today,” Arasim said. “We didn’t know if that was going to impact her swimming. But then she came out yesterday (in the preliminaries) and we blew away the state-qualifying time (of 1:55.50) leading off in the backstroke.

“After that, she didn’t care if she was sick. She knew that she could still swim and do her job.”

Puyallup’s Kacey Kiuchi won both the 100 backstroke and the 200 freestyle.

Kiuchi raced to a 57.68 finish in the backstroke, which was three seconds ahead of MichaelAnn Wilson of Sumner.

How improved was that time? Kiuchi had swam a 1:00.40 to place 12th at state in the event last year. The winning state time in the 100 backstroke was 56.70 by Mountain View’s Emma Frey.

“Before good races, I don’t do it all the time, but you kind of nod to yourself and you go, ‘This is the one,’ ” Kiuchi said. “I went out fast, so I was feeling it on my last 25.

“But it worked, and it was the best time ever for me. Even during club season.”

Kentridge’s Haley Childress won the 100 butterfly in 58.07 seconds and helped Kentridge’s 200 freestyle relay team to a first-place finish in 1:42.85.

Her butterfly time was almost a second faster than her prelim time.

“It was surreal,” Childress said. “It was just amazing to be able to race like that.”

Childress placed sixth in the event at the state meet last year.

Now these teams have two weeks until the state swimming championships Nov. 11-12 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

But that is two weeks of Curtis getting to soak in its district title.

“These girls earned it,” Arasim said. “They’ve learned a lot this year and a lot over the years.

“It was our pool, our home field advantage and that’s all the difference in the world. They know every inch of this thing, they know what it smells like, what it tastes like and what it looks like.”

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677

@TJCotterill

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