There can be no denying the single physical trait that’s helpful in both swimming and basketball.
Ellensburg swim coach Debbie Nethery, when asked to detail traits that make Bulldogs sophomore Taylor Wilson special said, “For one thing, she’s 5-11.”
So Wilson, who’s seeded first in both individual events for which she has qualified in the Class 2A-1A state meet scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Federal Way, shares a height advantage with Olympics heroine Missy Franklin.
At 6-1, the 17-year-old Franklin won four gold medals last summer in London.
Of course there are other qualities possessed by Wilson, just as there are other athletes who will compete for Ellensburg at the King County Aquatic Center. The Bulldogs will take eight swimmers to Federal Way and will be represented in every state event except diving.
West Valley and Prosser have each qualified seven swimmers and Selah five, which brings to mind another valid comparison between swimming and hoops: There is strength in numbers.
“I’m excited,” Nethery said, “and obviously the girls are excited. I want them to swim well and have a good meet, and then we’ll go from there.”
WV’s Jake Kessler expressed a similar sentiment, adding that competitive swimming involves so much more than merely diving into the pool and giving it everything you’ve got.
“My hope is that the girls get their best (individual career) times,” he said, “and if they do that, I feel like I’ve done my job. As for my expectations, those are much more varied.”
Wilson is the top seed in both the 100 breaststroke and 100 freestyle with Valley-best times of 1 minute, 8.05 seconds and 53.39, respectively.
“She’s been swimming for eight years,” Nethery said, “so it’s not anything new to her. She was hoping to be in this position because she was third and fifth last year, and all the girls ahead of her graduated.”
Senior Anne Froelich is another top-seeded Ellensburg swimmer, carrying a Valley-best 25.56 seconds into the 50 free.
Wilson and Froelich have also qualified on Ellensburg’s 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams, each of which is seeded third.
Other top-five seeds are Prosser senior Hailey Rankin, who’s third in both the 100 butterfly (1:01.94) and 200 free (2:02.40); West Valley freshman Caitlin Quaempts, third in the 100 backstroke (1:01.92) and fourth in the 100 free (55.59), and Zillah’s Alexis Medelez, who’s fifth in the 100 butterfly (1:01;90).
Eisenhower’s Alissa Bezenek (100 fly) and Landon Hopkins (100 back) are the area’s only Class 4A qualifiers while Sunnyside’s Cassadie Moore (100 breast) will represent the Valley in the Class 3A competition.
STATE SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Friday and Saturday, King County Aquatic Center
Eisenhower: Alissa Bezenek 100 butterfly; Landon Hopkins, 100 backstroke.
Sunnyside: Cassadie Moore 200 IM, 100 breaststroke.
Ellensburg: Alicia Hummel 200 medley relay, 100 back, 200 IM, 400 free relay; Katie Masters, 200 medley relay, 100 breaststroke, 200 free relay; Anne Froelich 200 medley relay, 400 free relay, 50 free, 100 butterfly; Taylor Wilson, 200 medley relay, 400 free relay, 100 free, 100 breaststroke; Sam Denison, 500 free, 400 free relay, 200 free relay; Emily Hansen, 200 free relay; Kate Davis, 200 free relay.
Prosser: Kassidy Burnett 200 medley relay, 200 free relay; Gabby Villareal 200 free relay; Grace Anderson 200 free relay; Brianna Garcia 200 free relay; Becky Wildman 200 medley relay; Hailey Rankin 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle, 100 butterfly; Karlie Lusk 200 medley relay.
Selah: Aricka Smith, 200 medley relay, 50 free, 100 free, 200 free relay; Brittany Borchert 200 medley relay, 200 free relay; Delainee Viernes 200 medley relay; Melanie Garza 200 free relay; Rachel Krawczyk 200 medley relay, 200 free relay.
Topppenish: Katrina Johnson 50 free, 100 butterfly.
West Valley: Abbi McGuire 200 IM, 400 free relay; Sydney Tollackson, 200 IM; Caitlin Quaempts, 100 free, 100 back, 400 free relay; Abby Poston, 200 free relay; Carlie Arreola, 200 free relay; Lauren Feldmann 200 free relay, 400 free relay, 100 butterfly; Jordyn McDowell 200 free relay, 400 free relay.
Zillah: Alexis Medelez 200 freestyle, 100 butterfly.