SK’s Pearson won’t be missing at state

Angela Pearson advanced to the state swimming and diving championships in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles. She competed at state in the 500 last year. - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
Angela Pearson advanced to the state swimming and diving championships in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles. She competed at state in the 500 last year.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

t SK soph will compete despite no qualifying times.

She didn’t achieve a state-qualifying time this season, but sophomore Angela Pearson was listed in the maximum two events when the state swimming and diving meet began Friday.

Pearson advanced in the 500-yard freestyle because the West Central District automatically sends its top seven placers to the state meet at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way.

She placed fifth in 5 minutes, 22.61 seconds at districts where the state-qualifying time is 5:20.

It was a selfless decision rather than a technicality that led her to advance in the 200 freestyle, though.

Pearson received a phone call from Gig Harbor’s Danielle Ellis last week. Ellis told her that Tides coach Mike Kelly suggested that she compete in another relay to help her team, which meant she had to relinquish her spot in the 200.

“She called and told me that she dropped out,” said Pearson, who is friends with Ellis on the Tacoma Swim Club. “I was really excited.”

Pearson hopes swimming the two events will allow her to showcase her skills to scouts. Even though Pearson can’t officially be recruited as a sophomore, she hopes to make an impression on a college, particularly a Pac-10 school, where she can compete.

That’s not her only goal, though. Pearson said she wants to qualify in the finals of the 500 and break 5:20. In the 200, her goal is to finish in two minutes.

South coach Dennis Anderson said it will be a good experience for her to compete in both events because she can refine her skills against top competition.

Anderson said he expects Pearson to continue to improve because she works hard, but notes that “she can improve her kicking, especially off the walls.”

Pearson, who began swimming when she was 8 years old for Puget Sound Swim Club, said she benefits from competing in the 500 last year at state. Despite that, confidence still was an issue early in the season.

“I was kind of scared to see how the times got really fast for state this year,” she said. “It kind of came to me and I had to get my head together. But I did it.”

And she plans to continue into the foreseeable future, in spite of the challenges being a student-athlete possesses. Pearson maintains a 3.5 grade-point average, but said the balance between practicing three hours per day in addition to a class load that features honors courses can be daunting.

“It’s the price you pay for the sport,” she said. “My coaches and friends always keep me going.”

Pearson said she wants to remain in sports no matter how far swimming takes her. She also enjoys watching football, particularly the Seattle Seahawks, and hopes to work with athletes.

“I always want to be involved with sports,” she said. “I’ve been looking into personal training — just something to do with the body.”

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