WALLA WALLA — The Mid-Columbia Conference regular-season schedule concluded with Walla Walla High School’s girls swim team picking up dual-meet victories over Kamiakin and Kennewick at Whitman College’s Harvey Pool Thursday night.
“It was our last home meet, and we took the opportunity to recognize our seven seniors,” Blue Devils coach Katharine Curles said. “It was lovely to finish the meet, and the season, so strong on a night dedicated to these wonderful girls.”
Wa-Hi downed Kamiakin, 99-71, and Kennewick, 115-51, while the Braves beat the Lions, 111-57, in their head-to-head matchup.
The Wa-Hi 200 Medley relays placed first and second to Kennewick, and first and third to Kamiakin, with the team of Elli Rassbach, Natalie Fink, Heather Ball and Lacey Klem finishing with a season-best time of 2:03.67.
“These girls are doing so well with this relay!” Curles said.
Mackenzie Hale finished first in the 200 Free with a time of 2:07.86. Whitney Lux finished second to Kennewick and third to Kamiakin with her time of 2:18.58.
“Whitney swam incredibly well, dropping a lot of time,” Curles said. “She’s learned to believe in herself and get her whole team to believe in her as well, and every one of her swims is a full-team effort. I’m so proud of the work she has put in.”
In the same event, Wa-Hi’s Hannah Theil finished third to Kennewick, fourth to Kamiakin in 2:21.07.
Klem and Shelby Gordon finished 1-2 to Kamiakin and 2-3 to the Lions, just behind Kennewick’s Alexis Murphy. Both Klem and Gordon had their best times in this race.
Ball led the Blue Devil sprinters with a 27.74 in the 50 meters, finishing third to Kennewick and second to Kamiakin.
“Watching Heather swim is very exciting,” Curles said. “She gets out and races well. It’s fun to see her tear up the water.”
Hale and Klem led the Blue Devil butterfliers with a 2-3 finish to Kennewick, and came in first and third to Kamiakin. Klem’s swim in 1:10.14 was a lifetime best time.
Fink won the 100 Free over Kamiakin in a time of 59.41. Kennewick’s Samantha Lester got the top spot in the Kennewick dual.
Kaelie Coleman finished with a lifetime best of 1:03.91 for third place in both meets.
“Kaelie has been on a bit of a plateau with this event for much of the season, so to break through tonight was great,” Curles said. “I’m excited to see what she’ll do at districts!”
Senior Wa-Hi captain Rassbach finished two seconds behind Kamiakin’s Claire Megna, after swimming neck-in-neck for the entire race.
Lux continued her strong swims for another lifetime best 500 Freestyle, finishing second to Kennewick and third to Kamiakin in 6:07.52.
Madyson Gabriel finished in 6:23.21.
“Gabriel has worked so hard this season, she very much deserves to have a great race like that,” Curles said.
The 200 Freestyle relay of Ball, Hale, Hannah Theil and Klem finished first to Kennewick, second to Kamiakin in 1:51.92. All four girls swam very strong, especially Lacey (Klem) who went a best time as she anchored the relay.
“Rassbach, Elise Brown and Theil had great Backstroke swims, finishing first, second and third to Kennewick and second, third and fourth to Kamiakin,” Curles said. “I’m particularly excited for Brown, who continues to drop significant time every time she swims Back. She’s a natural, and her stroke is great.
Fink led the 100 Breast, finishing first in both meets in a time of 1:16.32. Grace McKeirnan finished third in 1:22.86.
“It was such a great swim for both of them,” Curles said.
Finally, the A 400 Freestyle relay of Fink, Rassbach, Hale and Gordon finished first, and the B relay of Gabriel, Ball, Coleman and Groom finished second.
All of these girls had great swims, and it was so fun to go out with such a bang,” Curles said.
“I’m very proud of this team,” she said. “We’ve had an incredible season, finished third in league (4-2 overall in dual meets), and the team is stronger and (more) supportive than any other year I have coached.
“This next week, we will be paring down our team, resting and mentally preparing for districts, which will be in Ellensburg Friday and Saturday (Nov. 1-2). We’re excited to see how we do!”