Sports

Rousell eyes two titles, team hopes for top 10

While South Kitsap swimmer Madison Rousell’s taste in music might seem a little odd, there is a method to her madness.

Last year, as a sophomore and the top seed heading into the finals of the 100-yard freestyle event at the state swim meet, she chose MC Hammer’s old classic ‘U Can’t Touch This’ as her entrance music. It was a bold statement to make, but she backed it up by winning the event by almost a full second.

This weekend, Rousell will most likely have to come up with two new pieces of entrance music as she enters this weekend’s Class 4A state swimming and diving meet as the favorite to win two individual events, along with hopes of taking her team to a top 10 finish.

“I’m definitely hoping and wishing that I’ll go in seeded first,” Rousell said after practice Wednesday, “and come out state champion again. But if I don’t get to play songs like this, no big deal. I just hope I do really well.”

The state swim meet got under way late Friday night with preliminary heats in all events at the KingCo Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Finals will be held tonight beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Those in attendance can expect to hear some really bad sounds from the 1980s as Rousell goes for a double win. Each swimmer who records the fastest time in the preliminaries gets to choose the entrance music for the finals.

While she does give thought to what songs she might play on Saturday, Rousell said she’s not trying to be cocky and knows she has to swim well to even have a chance to win.

But as the top seed in both events, she has a definite confidence about her.

Rousell enters this year’s meet seeded first in the 100 free with a time of 52.85 seconds; her time of 24.52 is tops in the 50 free, the event she finished second in last year.

“The thing with Maddy this year is that she’s not a surprise,” South coach Dennis Anderson said. “They all know she’s there and they all know what she does. And they all know what they need to do to get her.

“She is absolutely more than capable of taking both of those and going with them if she does the things that make her successful,” Anderson said. “And that’s get out front. When she’s out front, something in her changes. It’s like a determination to not get beat. She’s a way better swimmer when she’s out front.”

While Rousell will be the biggest attention-getter at today’s finals, at least from South Kitsap’s point of view, the Wolves hope to have a few surprises up their sleeves that lead to a top 10 finish for the team.

One of those is the sudden improvement in its 200-yard medley relay team. On the verge of not qualifying at all with just the district meet left three weeks ago, the Wolves’ tandem of Rousell, Helen Tripple, Kate Hubner and Jordan Wolfe eclipsed the qualifying mark and now have a great shot at going top eight at state, Anderson said.

“All of a sudden, like they do every year, the awakening happened,” Anderson said. “It was an awakening from the first person to the very last person. They all swam exactly like they were supposed to.”

Anderson said the improvement in that one swim took the foursome from two seconds away from the state-qualifying standard to a second and a half below it – which is remarkable by anyone’s standards.

Rousell gets things started with the backstroke, with Tripple taking the next leg in the breaststroke followed by Hubner in the butterfly and Jordan Wolfe in the freestyle.

Anderson said Tripple’s performance in the breaststroke has been the biggest difference in getting the relay team qualified, since most teams’ time in that leg is well above the 30 second mark, while the other three legs go below 30 seconds. Tripple’s time has been hovering right around 32 seconds, which Anderson said his solid for that leg.

Hubner, he said, took her time in the fly down a full two seconds at district, while Wolfe has been the most consistent, turning in swims of 27 seconds, although Anderson said he thinks she can take that down to 26 seconds at the state meet.

Tripple could sneak into the top eight in either the 50 or 100 free if she has the meet of her life, Anderson said. And he thinks she’s in prime position to do just that.

Megan Finnie could also get into the finals in the 500 free, Anderson said. The senior just missed last year and has been burning to get another shot.

Anderson added that the 200 free relay is also a top eight wild card. He said he decided to focus more on it than the 400 relay and will form his lineup literally moments before the events starts.

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