When the water settled for the final time on Sam Abbott’s career, the scoreboard at the King County Aquatic Center showed that he and his Curtis teammates had come in fourth place for the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Their time was 3 minutes, 13.06 seconds. But the fourth-place finish wasn’t what Abbott was thinking about.
“We dropped two seconds from our preliminary time from yesterday,” he said. “Everyone had good swims, and we left it all in the pool. Our team did really good.”
As a team, the Vikings finished fifth overall in the 4A swimming championships on Saturday, earning 180 points on the day. Camas took first with 302 points.
Abbott was among five Curtis seniors swimming in their last state championships — the others were David Ling, Dan Melin, Matthew Patterson and Josh Arnold — but that doesn’t discourage coach Dennis Piccolotto.
“I told the guys that I am proud of this senior group,” he said. “The leadership over the last few years will carry over in the future. I wouldn’t know what 2018 will look like, but after today, pieces are falling into place and I expect them to be back.”
Some returning Vikings juniors will be Alex Hwang, Jorge Melendez and Abhi Larson, all of whom got important state experience competing in relays and individual events.
Melendez finished 11th overall in the 200 IM with a time of 1:59.82; Arnold earned fifth in the 500 freestyle at 4:48.97; and Hwang was on the fourth-place team for the 400 free relay.
“Coming in we were prepared, we were tapered,” Abbott said. “I think we had a great meet. We ended on a good note to end a long year.”
And for Abbott, he’s come a long way since his freshman year swimming only in the 200 free relay.
The next highest scoring team from the South Sound was Kentridge, led by Jake Davies.
Davies, another senior, finished sixth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 breaststroke.
“I was seeded better in both events. The IM went better because I dropped .04 (off my preliminary time),” he said. “I did all right — I wanted that fairy tale ending where I break both records.”
But Davies was more enthusiastic about his teammates Hans Erickson and Sean Gilman, both of whom swam with Davies on the 12th-place 200 medley relay team.
“In the relays, everyone has dropped significant time, especially Erickson,” he said. “He swims summer league with me and he went from :52 during the season to :48 here. (Gilman) is truly what a high school swimmer should be, committed to the team — and he was co-captain with me.”
The Chargers finished 17th overall with 43 points. Other notable finishes were South Kitsap’s Jason Gleason taking home first place in diving with a score of 474.20 and Nicholas Ainsworth from Tahoma getting fifth place in the 50 free after finishing at 22.00.
Steilacoom earned its highest-ever team placing at the swimming championships, finished the night in second place with 213.5 points behind only Kingston’s 225.
“It’s a little bit surreal, but it feels like the team that we built,” senior Seth Koivisto said. “All of our seniors have been on for four years and we’ve built this team up, and it feels like the climax of the whole thing.”
Koivisto swam in four events, his last being the 100 breaststroke where he tied for fifth with Liberty’s Brian Kim at 1:01.07.
“This is the culmination of everything. It is amazing to see how everyone else has done and to see how far I’ve come,” he said.
Fife’s Chris Kim also had a busy meet, earning third in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:00.48, 13th place in the 400 free relay and a 12th-place finish in the 200 medley relay.
Foss’ junior diver Orlando Stumvoll finished fifth in the finals for diving, earning a score of 290.45 between the two days.
Gabriel Nickels and Bryce Soriano led a youthful Stadium team at the class 3A swimming championships.
Both Nickels and Soriano are freshmen, so placing in the top eight is a big deal to the both of them — and the only way to go is up.
“It feels great to place as a freshman,” Soriano said. “It feels good to get my feet wet, literally. It was exciting, and that atmosphere was great.”
Soriano came in sixth place in the 200 IM finals with a time of 1:57.82. Nickels saw similar success, as he finished seventh in the 500 freestyle.
“It feels really good to place, but also that there are juniors and seniors to help me,” he said. “In three years I’ll be a senior, and I have three more years to do this.”
On the other side of the pool was the veteran presence of Wilson High School and Chris Harkness.
Harkness placed just ahead of Nickels in the 500 freestyle for sixth place in a time of 4:46.88. That came after he finished ninth in the 200 freestyle in 1:47.40.
“To get ninth and be here right now in my last year, it feels pretty good,” he said. Harkness.
Wilson’s Evan Chard had the highest local placing of the 3A meet, taking fourth in the 200 IM in 1:57.01. And he took sixth in the 100 backstroke in 53.05.