Wolves finish 18th at state

Considering the circumstances, South Kitsap Dennis Anderson was satisfied with the Wolves’ performance at the Class 4A state swim meet last weekend at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

“We expected to be in the top 20 and we finished 18th, so that was good,” Anderson said. “We couldn’t do much more than we did with just three guys, so I’m happy.”

The Wolves entered the meet shorthanded and had to rely heavily on juniors Greg Mercer and Nick Dargel and senior diver Joe Brace. And those three got South 43 points, good enough for 18th in the team standings.

Thomas Jefferson won the meet with 175 points. The Wolves had placed ninth last year.

Brace placed third in the 1-meter diving competition for the second-straight year, racking up 387.85 points.

“Up until his last dive, he was doing really well,” Anderson said. “But he had a little trouble on his last one and he just didn’t quite nail it.”

Brace’s final dive was a forward one-and-half with two twists, one he’s been on and off with all year, Anderson said.

“It cost him second place,” Anderson said. “But his first 10 dives were pretty good.”

Mercer came away from the state meet with a new school record in the 50-yard freestyle. He broke the mark in Friday’s preliminaries and got it again in Saturday’s finals.

Mercer swam a 21.94 in the prelims and finished sixth in the finals at 21.68.

That time was good enough for All-American consideration.

“He had a great little meet,” Anderson said. “I think when he looks back on it, he’ll be happy with it.”

Mercer took fifth in the 100 free, swimming a 47.99.

Both places and times were an improvement over what he posted at last year’s meet.

“As an athlete, you always want to do better than what you’ve done in the past,” Anderson said. “That’s just the nature of the beast. He did better this year and I think he’ll do even better next year.”

Dargel placed 18th in the 100-yard backstroke but swam a fast race, equally one of his best times in that event.

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