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Originally published Friday, November 15, 2013 at 9:50 PM

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Newport cruises as expected in state prelims | 4A girls swimming

Lisa Bratton, Carolyn McCann and Kenna Ramey also had big days to set up some enticing final-day matchups at the state championships.

Special to The Seattle Times

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FEDERAL WAY – Lisa Bratton and Carolyn McCann did a little cruising on Friday morning.

Kenna Ramey showed herself and those gathered for the 4A state girls swim prelims just how fast the King County Aquatic Center pool can be.

And Newport coach Eric Bartleson? All he could do was rave over his Knights’ first-day efforts.

“I don’t think we could have had a better prelim meet,” Bartleson said. “The girls felt really comfortable in their swims.”

Newport advanced seven individuals and all three of its relay teams into championship finals and will get two more swims in consolation finals as the Knights attempt to accomplish what most here believe is a foregone conclusion — defend the 4A team title.

“It’s very different for me and for the team,” Bartleson said of being the overwhelming favorite. “It’s definitely been a different kind of week.”

Ramey, a senior from Federal Way, posted her best-ever time in her 50-yard freestyle heat. Ramey’s 23.32 seconds is almost a half-second ahead of the second-best qualifier, Wenatchee’s Hannah Bruggman, at 23.79.

“This is my home pool, Ramey said. “So I’m used to training here.”

In addition to her top 50-free time, Ramey also was the top qualifier in the 100 butterfly at 55.98 seconds.

Richland’s Bratton could find herself in the two most competitive finals Saturday morning.

She and Michigan-bound McCann, from Gig Harbor, were able to take it relatively easy in their 200 individual medley heats as they qualified 1-2 in the event at 2:03.39 and 2:06.91.

Saturday, the pair will swim right next to each other for the title that Bratton won a year ago, with McCann finishing second.

“I know both of us kind of cruised (Friday),” said Bratton, off to Texas A&M next fall. “The three of us will duke it out, and we’ll see.”

Bratton included Mount Rainier’s Megan Kawaguchi in the mix. She was the third-place qualifier at 2:09.60.

The 200 IM will be the third event of the morning. The second-to-last event will feature Bratton, Kentlake’s Kyndal Phillips, Kawaguchi and Newport’s Elisa Fang in the 100 back.

Bratton and Phillips dueled during their heat in the event, with Bratton edging Phillips 55.14 to 55.77.

“We’ll see what happens,” Bratton said. “I was actually thinking during the race, ‘If this is what prelims feel like, in the finals you’re going to have to go if you want to win.’ ”

Besides the 200 IM showdown, McCann has another lofty goal in the 100 breaststroke.

“I’m really looking at that one (state record),” said McCann, who went 1:03.38 in her prelim heat. “I want that 1:02 flat (set in 2008 by Peninsula’s Lindsay Marchand).”

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