South Kitsap team exceeds expectations at state meet

It was the final leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay and South Kitsap was lagging.

The Wolves had fallen into seventh place in the championship finals as Taylor Rousell hit the water.

That’s when Rousell, not entirely pleased with his performance in a pair of individual events, decided to make the relay his lasting memory.

The junior helped propel South into fifth place in that event in 3 minutes, 16.89 seconds Saturday in the Class 4A swim and dive championships at Federal Way’s King County Aquatic Center.

“I swim because of these guys,” Rousell said. “They push me and I can’t let them down and I can’t let myself down and the huge crowd we had up there.”

Junior Brandon Dravis was excited that the Wolves broke the school record of 3:17.68, set in 1986.

“It’s kind of unreal, this whole experience,” he said.

It was the second time of the weekend that the Wolves finished fifth in a relay. South’s team of Dravis, Justin Slezak, Danny DeRego and Rousell stroked to a 1:40.32 finish in the 200 medley relay. Kamiak won that event in 1:38.56.

The Wolves broke the school record (1:41.43) that was set at districts. Before that, South’s best time was 1:42.52, in 1987.

“That was our first event and we got to walk out to music, which got our adrenaline going,” Slezak said. “We’re all really happy.”

Rousell tied Dravis for the team’s top individual performance. He placed fourth in the 50 freestyle in 21.71 seconds, behind Snohomish’s Garren Riechel (21.14), who won the event and earned an automatic All-American time.

But his performance in Friday’s preliminaries left him out of the championship heat in the 100 freestyle. He won the consolation event in 48.89 seconds, a time that would have earned him sixth place had he made the championship.

Dravis was plagued with shoulder tendonitis last year, but returned to place fourth in the 200 individual medley in 1:58.4. The top two placers in the event — Marysville-Pilchuck’s Trevor LeValley (1:55.02) and Oak Harbor’s John Hu (1:55.63) — are seniors.

He was the only competitor from the school to place in the championships of two events. Dravis was sixth in the 100 backstroke (54.77). Richland’s Cody Roberts won it in 50.37.

The Wolves final individual to place in an event was Slezak, who was fifth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.49. Riechel won that event in 54.49.

“I went in eighth and my mindset was that I can’t get any worse,” Slezak said. “I was just happy to get into the finals and not consolation.”

Those performances helped South to an eighth-place finish with 134 points. A pair of Wesco schools, Kamiak (222) and Shorewood (206), were the top two teams, followed by Narrows League rival Gig Harbor (201).

DeRego, who placed 12th in the 100 freestyle (49.58), in addition to Joachim’s 14th finish in the 200 freestyle (1:51.83) also earned points for the Wolves. South’s 200 freestyle relay team was 15th (1:34.55).

Two divers, senior Mike Cink and sophomore Joe Rose, advanced to state but didn’t make it past the preliminaries.

But that didn’t change South coach Tami Lester-Dame’s perspective on how her team performed.

“I’m ecstatic,” she said. “This is way beyond my expectations of how I thought we would do.”

Team scores: Kamiak 222, Shorewood 206, Gig Harbor 201, Richland 176, Inglemoor 154.5, Garfield 149, Marysville-Pilchuck 142, South Kitsap 134, Newport 100, Snohomish 99, Oak Harbor 81, Stadium 71, Cascade 63, Redmond 61, Moses Lake 56, Wilson 55, Todd Beamer 53, Evergreen 43, Davis 32, Edmonds Woodway 30, Wenatchee 29.5, Curtis 25, Eastmont 21, Jackson 18, Foss 15, Kentwood 15, Central Kitsap 13, Shelton 10, Mountain View 8, Stanwood 8, Lake Stevens 8, Decatur 6, Kent-Meridian 5, Roosevelt 5, Skyline 3, Issaquah 3, Eastlake 2, Jefferson 1, Auburn 1.

Individual results (champions and South Kitsap placers only)

200 medley relay-1, Kamiak (Daniel Schmidt, Chris Lynch, Patrick Hunziker, Tyler Carriker) 1:38.56; 5, South Kitsap (Brandon Dravis, Justin Slezak, Danny DeRego, Taylor Rousell) 1:40.34.

200 freestyle-1, Bryan Michaels (SHO) 1:39.64; 14, Zach Joachim (SK) 1:51.83.

200 individual medley-1, Trevor LeValley (MP) 1:55.02; 4, Dravis (SK) 1:58.4.

50 freestyle-1, Garren Riechel (SNO) 21.14; 4, Rousell (SK) 21.71.

Diving-1, Max Klassen (RED) 452.9.

100 butterfly-1, Cody Roberts (RICH) 47.81.

100 freestyle-1, Logan Goodman (SNO) 47.5; 9, Rousell (SK) 48.89; 12, DeRego (SK) 49.58.

500 freestyle-1, Michaels (SHO) 4:31.55.

200 freestyle relay-1, Kamiak (Schmidt, Hunziker, Kris Bratvold, Gus Brunner) 1:28.72; 15, South Kitsap (Jimmy Beverage, DeRego, Brandon Lester, Joachim) 1:34.55.

100 backstroke-1, Roberts (RICH) 50.37; 6, Dravis (SK) 54.77.

100 breaststroke-1, Riechel (SNO) 54.49; 5, Slezak (SK) 1:01.49.

400 freestyle relay-1, Kamiak (Hunziker, Carriker, Schmidt, Lynch) 3:13.82; 5, South Kitsap (DeRego, Joachim, Dravis, Rousell) 3:16.89.

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