Swim & Dive: South Kitsap's Rousell narrowly misses state title

Taylor Rousell almost lived the dream.

The South Kitsap senior just missed winning a Class 4A state title in his final meet Saturday at the state swim and dive championships at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

“I thought he touched that guy out,” South coach Tami Lester-Dame said.

It did not quite end that way, but Rousell said he was happy after finishing second in the 100-yard freestyle in 47.97 seconds. Rousell, who had the top time in Friday’s preliminaries (48.3), finished second behind Shorewood’s Thor Stenfjord (47.69).

It was a personal-best time for Rousell.

“It was a great way to end my senior year,” said Rousell, who is taking a recruiting trip next month to Mesa State College in Colorado. “I’m proud of everything I did and my teammates did.”

He nearly elected to forego the 100 freestyle in favor of the 100 butterfly two weeks ago at the West Central District meet. Rousell said he stuck with his original plan based on his confidence level, but added that he would have preferred to swim both instead of the 50 freestyle. But that was not plausible because those events are scheduled back-to-back at state.

Rousell finished fifth in the 50 freestyle in 21.96. Snohomish’s Garren Riechel (20.91) defended his title in that event.

Another senior swimmer, Brandon Dravis, had the next best finishes for the Wolves in an individual event. He placed sixth in both the 200 individual medley (1 minute, 58.67 seconds) and the 100 backstroke (53.94).

“He broke his record in the backstroke,” Lester-Dame said. “He came through again.”

Dravis and Rousell, along with senior Justin Slezak and freshman Damien DeRego, also helped South finish 13th in the 200 medley relay (1:43.35) and the same quartet came back for the finale, the 400 freestyle relay. They finished 11th in 3:23.11.

Lester-Dame said it was a difficult decision to put Dravis and Rousell in that event because they had already swam in a pair of individual events and a relay. She ultimately decided it was best to have her top swimmers compete even if they were tired.

“It was hard to do,” she said. “I was proud of them for that.”

Rousell said it was not easy, but that he enjoyed the experience.

“I love fighting for my team like that,” he said.

Some of the school’s top swimmers depart along with Lester-Dame, who already has announced she will not be back next season, but the Wolves return a pair of junior divers who placed at state. Joe Rose was second behind Shorewood’s Eddie Young (404.5) with 375.85 points. Kelvin Waterman finished 13th with 295.3 points.

Rose, who placed 24th at state last year, and Waterman both said they plan to become even more dedicated toward their craft. Rose said he practices twice a week with his club team at the King County Aquatic Center, but wants to double that number.

“I’m happy,” Rose said. “Eddie Young has been diving for club six days a week for six years. I’ve been diving for club for a year.”

Lester-Dame noted that the divers scored 21 points for the Wolves. South finished in 11th place with 98 points. Shorewood won the team competition with 194 points.

“These guys have worked hard,” Lester-Dame said. “They deserve what they got. It’s nice to go out with a good finish.”


Team scores: 1, Shorewood 194; 2, Gig Harbor 179; 3, Inglemoor 173; 4, Todd Beamer 171; 5, Richland 138; 6, Garfield 131; 7, Kamiak 130.5; 8, Snohomish 101; 9, Marysville Pilchuck 100; 9, Wilson 100; 11, South Kitsap 98; 12, Central Kitsap 86; 13, Stadium 83; 14, Lake Stevens 69.5; 15, Stanwood 62; 16, Oak Harbor 54; 17, Newport 44; 18, Wenatchee 43; 19, Eisenhower 37; 20, Decatur 31; 21, Evergreen (Vancouver) 29; 22, Kentlake 28; 22, Eastmont 28; 24, Mountain View 26; 25, Jackson 24; 26, Cascade 19; 27, Roosevelt 15; 28, Olympia 14.5; 29, Moses Lake 13; 30, Eastlake 12; 31, Skyline 10; 32, Redmond 9; 32, Kentwood 9; 34, Woodinville 7; 34, Kent-Meridian 7; 36, Curtis 6; 37, Lincoln 5; 38, Issaquah 4; 39, Auburn 3.5; 40, Tahoma 2; 40, Auburn Riverside 2; 40, Rogers (Puyallup) 2; 40, Jefferson 2.

(First place and any South Kitsap placer)

200 medley relay: 1, Shorewood (Thor Stenfjord, Mackey Hopen, Marcus Gill, Colin Bell) 1:38.2; 13, South Kitsap (Brandon Dravis, Justin Slezak, Damien DeRego, Taylor Rousell) 1:43.54. 200 freestyle: 1, Ian Wheeler (Eis) 1:40.14. 200 individual medley: 1, Shane Clare (TB) 1:55.54; 6, Dravis (SK) 1:58.67. 50 freestyle: 1, Garren Riechel (Sno) 20.91; 5, Rousell (SK) 21.96. Diving: 1, Eddie Young (Sho) 404.5; 2, Joe Rose (SK) 375.85; 13, Kelvin Waterman (SK) 295.3. 100 butterfly: 1, Bryan Harvey (Sno) 49.29. 100 freestyle: 1, Stenfjord (Sho) 47.69; 2, Rousell (SK) 47.97. 500 freestyle: 1, Reid Walker (Gar) 4:33.03. 200 freestyle relay: 1, Shorewood (Stenfjord, Gill, Leif Danielson, Mackey Hopen) 1:28.25. 100 backstroke: 1, Bart Wanot (TB) 50.96; 6, Dravis (SK) 53.94. 100 breaststroke: 1, Riechel (Sno) 55.63. 400 freestyle relay: 1, Gig Harbor (Tyler Kaslik, Will Frame, Dakota Moist, Spencer Neff) 3:13.4; 11, South Kitsap (DeRego, Dravis, Slezak, Rousell) 3:23.11.

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