Originally published Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 8:29 PM

Mercer Island depth delivers another title | 3A, 2A Girls Swimming

Mercer Island pulled away in the final three events to outpoint Bainbridge 340 to 318 for the Islanders' third consecutive team title.

Special to The Seattle Times

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FEDERAL WAY — Grace Wold made an early statement. Her Mercer Island teammates followed suit Saturday morning at the Class 3A state girls swimming championships at King County Aquatic Center.

Wold and Mercer Island staved off strong challenges from their competitors, pulling away in the final three events to outpoint Bainbridge 340 to 318 for the Islanders' third consecutive team title.

"We are the epitome of 'It takes every single kid to win'," Mercer Island coach Chauntelle Johnson said. "It's a concept this group gets. I am more and more impressed with them every year."

Wold's first of two individual championships came in the day's third event — the 200-yard individual medley.

The Mercer Island junior came from behind after 50 yards and pulled away from Bellevue's Kim Williams as she made the final turn of the freestyle leg to repeat as champion in 2 minutes, 2.50 seconds.

"That was a very fun race for me," said Wold, who lost to Williams a week ago at districts in the event and had the second-fastest prelim time to the Wolverines freshman coming in. Wold's performances earned her swimmer of the meet honors, as well.

"It's like going to the candy store," Wold said. "So fun. Kim is such a good swimmer. I respect her so much."

Williams came back to win the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.97.

Wold repeated as champion in the 100 fly as well, in 55.08 seconds, her second automatic all-America time of the finals.

Wold's two titles provided the foundation, but it was Mercer Island's depth that sealed the deal for the team title. The Islanders got points from 11 championship finalists and 15 consolation finalists.

Bainbridge kept it close late into the meet. The Spartans led after nine of 12 events, 246-232. But the Islanders scored big in the 100 back to take the lead for good, 272-270, and placed three swimmers in the top five of the 100 breast to move away.

"We knew it would take a near miracle to beat them," Bainbridge coach Greg Colby said. "But the girls made a goal to take a shot at them, and I think we did that."

Even with the meet decided, Wold wasn't quite finished. As the anchor in the 400 free relay, she dove into the pool trailing Hanford by nearly 20 yards.

Over the final 75 yards, she came within 0.6 of a second of reigning in Hanford's anchor, Melissa Merrill, as Mercer Island finished second by a breath, 3:34.48 to 3:35.10.

Wold wasn't the only double winner.

Meadowdale sophomore Anne Keane won the 50 and 100 frees. Her 100 free time of 50.62 seconds also was an automatic all-America time, while her 23.50 in the 50 was just .01 off another auto time.

"Last year I was second in both to the same senior," Keane said. "I was really determined to win at least the 50 free this year."

As for coming so close to the automatic all-America time?

"I knew I shouldn't have glided as long at the end," Keane said. "It would have been a half stroke, though. I wasn't sure if gliding was the right choice."

Class 2A

• Sehome dethroned two-time defending champ Squalicum, 223 to 212. Sumner (192) was third.

• Squalicum's 200 medley relay (1:51.89) broke Interlake's 2A meet record of 1:53.55, set last year.

• Othello senior Natilee Ruiz destroyed the 2A record in the 200 IM, winning in 2:04.02 to beat the mark of 2:07.82 by Fife's Nakayla Chan in 2007. Ruiz then added the 100 free title in 51.00, just .01 off the meet record, to become the second girl in Washington history to win all four freestyle events in her career.

• Fife's Delaney Peugh kept her diving title, scoring 330.9 to top her meet record set a year ago (317.5).

• Hockinson's Julia Sanders broke her record in the 100 fly, swimming 56.29. Sanders also took the 50 free (23.72).

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