Rousell brings home another title

For Madison Rousell, one is no longer enough.

After winning the 100-yard freestyle and placing second in the 50 free last year as a sophomore, the tall and lanky South Kitsap swimmer had her eyes on a double at this year’s Class 4A state swimming and diving meet.

Saturday night, she got the title that eluded her last year, blowing away the field in the 50 free but gave back the title she so desperately wanted to defend, settling for third in the 100 free.

“It’s disappointing, but I got the 50, which was definitely exciting,” Rousell said. “I really can’t say it was a disappointing day.

Rousell helped the Wolves to a 17th place team finish, although that was well below what they had their eyes on entering the meet.

Helen Tripple and the 200 free relay were the only others to score.

Inglemoor won the meet with 187 points, while Garfield was second at 147. South collected 53 points for its third-straight top 20 finish.

“Overall, I thought we were above average,” South coach Dennis Anderson said of his team. “Last year, we were just off the charts. We could do no wrong. It’s hit or miss, but I thought we did pretty well.”

Rousell nabbed her second career title by capturing the 50 free with a personal-best time of 24.01 seconds.

Her time was good enough for All-American consideration and was just .02 seconds away from automatic All-American standing.

She easily beat Lake Stevens Kelly Conrad, who took second at 24.58.

But she said she was a bit flustered before her swim after watching Kentwood’s Courtney Eronemo just destroy the field in the 200 free, a swim that got the senior her fifth career state title in as many events.

Eronemo turned in a blistering 1:50.91, while Alyssa Manlow took second with an equally fast time of 1:51.18 — both automatic All-American times.

Both would play a major role later and, along with Rousell, turn in the evening’s best race in the 100 free finals.

Rousell got off to a quick start, which was key for her, and led most of the way. It was a perfect start, as far as Anderson was concerned.

“She set herself up right,” Anderson said. “Not many people can catch her (once she gets out front). This might be the first time I’ve ever seen anyone catch her. But sometimes you have no control over what happens. Sometimes things like that just happen.”

But after a couple of what Rousell called some “pretty bad turns,” Eronemo pulled even. The only problem was everyone, especially Rousell and Eronemo, forgot about Manlow.

The junior from Heritage took advantage of the oversight and won the event with an automatic All-American time of 51.97.

Eronemo was second at 52.42 while Rousell was third at 53.04.

“I don’t think either one of us saw (Manlow) coming or even thought about her,” Rousell said. “(Eronemo) is going after her state title in six different things and I’m going after a state title for my second year in a row and I think we were just focused on each other because that’s what everyone was expecting. But (Manlow) caught both of us. She took both of us by surprise, I think. I know she took me by surprise.”

Though disappointed by her third-place finish, Rousell said she was happy with the way the meet and the year went.

The Wolves’ Helen Tripple tied for 14th in the 50 free and placed 14th in the 100 free.

South’s 200 freestyle relay team of Rousell, Tripple, Jordan Wolfe and Megan Finnie placed 11th, getting South its final points.

With just one more year left, Rousell said she will not try to follow Eronemo and go for titles in different events.

“I’m sticking with the 50 and the 100,” Rousell said. “Those are the two that I have the best chance in. I can qualify in other events (she swam qualifying times in the 100 backstroke and 200 free this year) but the 50 and 100 are the best chances I have to win.

“I want them both,” Rousell said. “Definitely. I’ve already got it planned out, I’m going for both. I’m already excited for next year. That’s just how it is.”

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