RICHLAND — The Wa-Hi girls swim team traveled to Richland Thursday afternoon for a double-dual meet against Richland and Hanford, with the Tri-Cities schools handing the Blue Devils a pair of losses.
“We knew going in that these two teams were faster than us, but the girls did a great job finding their individual races, and they won a lot of those races,” Wa-Hi coach Katharine Curles said. “More than 70 percent of our swims were best times today, which is so wonderful at this point in the season. I’m really happy with how the girls swam.”
Final scores were Richland 114.5, Wa-Hi 65.5, and Hanford 105, Wa-Hi 78.
Wa-Hi’s 200 Medley relay teams of Elli Rassbach, Natalie Fink, Heather Ball and Lacey Klem, and Mackenzie Hale, Grace McKiernan, Hannah Thiel and Jennifer Cho finished first and third, respectively, against Hanford, and second and fourth against Richland.
“Ball and Klem’s races, especially, were really aggressive,” Curles said. “I was so happy with how all eight of the girls went out and put it all on the line. It got our energy up really well.”
Mackenzie Hale led the 200 Freestyle with a second-place finish against both schools with a time of 2:07.76. Whitney Lux and Kaelie Coleman finished fourth and fifth in both contests, respectively, both achieving best times of 2:22.09 (Lux) and 2:24.83 (Coleman).
Elli Rassbach’s time of 2:32.53 was good enough to win the 200 Individual Medley against Hanford, and place second to Richland’s Lauren Hall.
Klem finished third to Hanford and fourth to Richland with a time of 2:36.73.
Finally, Hannah Thiel finished fifth in both contests with a lifetime best of 2:40.19.
“The IM is a tough event, especially in a pool that’s not our own, and it was great to see them rise to the occasion,” Curles said.
Natalie Fink finished second to both schools in the 50 Freestyle with a time of 28.04.
Kate Hogan finished third to Richland, fourth to Hanford, and Heather Ball finished fourth to Richland, and fifth to Hanford, with times of 28.71 and 28.76, respectively.
“Something in Heather’s mind has just registered in the last week, and she’s learned how to be competitive and race,” Curles said. “It’s a great place for her to be.”
Klem’s 1:12.34 100 Fly was good enough for a second-place finish to both schools. Shelby Gordon’s 1:15.74 earned her fourth in both contests, and Thiel’s 1:19.29 was fifth to Hanford and sixth to Richland.
“Shelby’s race was so strong!” Curles said. “She dropped nearly five seconds and proved that she can really race the Fly. It was a wonderful swim to watch.”
Ball led the Blue Devils with a third-place finish in the 100 Free with a time of 1:06.38. Cho and McKiernan were fast on her heels with times of 1:07.13 (Cho) and 1:08.91 (McKiernan).
Hale finished the 500 Free in second place with a time of 5:34.08. Whitney Lux finished fourth against both schools with a time of 6:14.63 — another lifetime best for her.
Kate Hogan, Natalie Fink, Rassbach and Ball finished their 200 Freestyle relay in 1:57.17, good enough for second place.
The relay of Coleman, Thiel, Gordon and McKiernan finished third to Hanford, and fifth to Richland, in a time of 2:03.87.
“All eight did a great job racing, despite the weather getting rapidly colder!” Curles said.
Rassbach continued her strong day with a second-place finish in the 100 Back with a time of 1:13.01. Hogan finished fourth to Hanford, and third to Richland, with a time of 1:17.16.
Cho finished fifth to Hanford, and fourth to Richland, with her 1:18.99.
“Kate and Jennifer are doing really well in developing their backstroke,” Curles said.
Fink led the Wa-Hi breaststrokers with a time of 1:19.45, good enough for a second-place finish. McKiernan finished third to Hanford in 1:24.25 and fourth to Richland.
“Our breaststrokers did a great job,” Curles said.
Finally, the 400 Free relay of Hale, Gordon, Cho and Klem finished second with a time of 4:22.60, and the Wa-Hi B relay of Gabriel, Coleman, Lux and Hogan finished fourth.
“Overall, our team did really well,” Curles said. “I was happy with the energy level and all the times the girls found their individual races to compete in.”
The Blue Devils next swim against Kennewick and Southridge at Serier Pool in Kennewick next Thursday.