WEB-Courtesy of George Sayan.jpg

The WHS girls swim team poses at the state championships held Nov. 12-13. From left to right, Tayrn Han, Megan Traina, Maren Rusk, Taylor Fitch and Maddie Shelton.

For the first time in several years, the Woodinville High School women’s swim team qualified in two relays and two individual races for the WIAA 4A state championships at the King County Aquatic Center on Nov. 12-13.

“The team just kept improving and believing in themselves, it was nothing I’d ever seen before,” head coach George Sayah said.

Two relay teams qualified for the state meet, he said, including the 400-yard freestyle relay consisting of WHS senior Taylor Fitch, junior Maren Rusk, sophomore Maddie Shelton, freshman Taryn Han and freshman Megan Traina. 

The team ended the race in 10th place with a time of 3:45.72, he noted. Over the course of the season, the swimmers improved by over 15 seconds.

“There was a 15 second drop from when we started the season 10 or 12 weeks ago,” he said. “In swimming, that’s a lot of time. Even fractions of a second are a big deal.”

In the 200-yard freestyle relay, the team included Fitch, Han, Traina and Rusk. Savah said the team finished in 16th place with a time of 1:46.95 in the finals. The athletes also achieved a season-best for the event, he added. 

“We look forward to the return of Taryn, Megan, Maddie and Maren next season,” Sayan said. “Taylor completes her career with WHS at this 2021 WIAA state championship meet with personal best times, strong leadership and tremendous contribution to our program.”

WHS junior Maren Rusk placed seventh in the 200-yard individual medley race as well as fourth in the 500-yard freestyle swim, which secured her the second fastest time in Woodinville history.

Rusk had hoped to beat the Woodinville school record, but she’ll have one more shot next season in the 500-yard freestyle swim, she said.

“I was a little nervous before my races, but I really enjoyed the meet overall,” Rusk said. “Everyone was super psyched up and cheering for each other.”

Rusk also said she was extremely honored to be one of the first Woodinville teams in a while to qualify for state. After regular-season competitions, Rusk was named to the all-league first team for KingCo. Fitch also received honorable mention from all-league selections.

Last season, swimmers missed out on the chance to compete head-to-head in postseason meets. Rusk said athletes could compete in virtual meets where coaches submitted race times and compared them to other schools. 

“It was great to still have a season last year, we did what we could with what we had, but it’s so much more fun getting to compete against different schools and see other people,” she said.

Fitch, the team’s co-captain, said she will attend Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles to play softball after graduation in the spring.

“To wrap up 12 years of swimming at state with kids that are extremely talented, I felt very proud and I just wanted to finish strong,” Fitch said. “The odds weren’t really in our favor this season. We just rallied and made this season really special.”

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