‘Tired’ Bailey torches field at swimming events

Chelsea Bailey hasn’t even gotten to this year’s state girls swim meet yet, since it’s not until next weekend. But the Kentlake High sophomore already has swum faster than one state record — and darn near did it in two events during last Saturday’s Class 4A West Central District meet.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Tuesday, November 4, 2008 9:44am
  • Sports
Kentlake’s Chelsea Bailey was in a league of her own on Saturday at the district meet

Kentlake’s Chelsea Bailey was in a league of her own on Saturday at the district meet

Chelsea Bailey hasn’t even gotten to this year’s state girls swim meet yet, since it’s not until next weekend.

But the Kentlake High sophomore already has swum faster than one state record — and darn near did it in two events during last Saturday’s Class 4A West Central District meet.

Bailey cruised to the 100-yard backstroke championship in 54.99 seconds during the district finals at the Rogers High pool in Puyallup. That was 28 hundredths of a second faster than the current state mark of 55.27, set in 2002 by Rebecca Sturdy of Anacortes.

That swim came on the heels of her speedy performance in the 100 free. Bailey won that one in 50.17, which was just a scant one one-hundredth of a second shy of that state record. Emily Silver of Bainbridge, who swam in this past summer’s Beijing Olympics, set the standard of 50.16 in 2003.

And to think that Bailey, by her own acknowledgment, wasn’t swimming with a full tank of fuel.

“I had a practice that morning with my club team, so I was kind of tired,” Bailey said. “I was rather surprised that I was able to go that fast.”

Bailey said she didn’t even know about breaking a state record — albeit unofficially, since marks go into the books only if they’re swum at the state meet — until she was told afterward. Last year, she won the district title in 58.87, and logged a 56.94 for second at state.

“It was a big surprise. But it was very exciting,” she said of Saturday’s time.

As might be expected, Bailey won both events with room to spare. She was more than two seconds ahead of Stadium’s Scarlett Cann in the 100 free. Cann, the defending champion in that event, logged a 52.21, which was more than 2 ½ seconds faster than her winning mark last year.

In the 100 back, Bailey beat fellow sophomore Rachel Kim of Beamer by more than five seconds. While Bailey was finishing in her record time of 54.99, Kim stopped the clock in 1:00.21.

“Both of my strokes felt decent,” Bailey said. “At state, I want to try to repeat the times I did at district, if not go faster.”

Last year, Bailey did the 200 free in addition to the 100 back. She was second in the backstroke at state, and took fourth in the 200.

It didn’t take her long this year to figure out that the 100 free might be a better fit.

“I felt good earlier in the season with my club team that my 100 was coming along,” Bailey said. “The 200, I don’t have very much endurance. I chose the 100 because I was feeling pretty good with my club.”

While Bailey led the way individually, Kentridge set the pace for local teams.

The Chargers, with a fifth place from Emily Mohr in the 50-yard freestyle (25.24 seconds), and a fifth from Kari Keller in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.30), took sixth with 82 points. Mohr and Keller both beat the 4A state-qualifying standard.

Kentridge also got a third-place finish from its 400 free relay team of Mohr, Megan Sandall, Stephanie Giralmo and Jacqueline Do. Kentlake was fifth in that same event with Abbie Swanson, Taylor Bouffard, Bailey, and Katrina Hettrick. That same Falcon foursome was third in the 200 free relay.

Kentlake was eighth with 76, Tahoma checked in 12th with 42, Kentwood was 15th with 36, and Kent-Meridian finished in 18th place with 16 points.

K-M freshman Joanna Wu took sixth place in the 50 free in 25.28 seconds. She is the first state qualifier for the Royals since Megan Woodworth in 2002.

Tahoma’s Rachel Reese took third in the 100 back in 1:01.32, earning a trip to state. She also was part of the Bears’ sixth-place 200 free relay team, which also included Jenessa Hatch, Michelle Hayden and Alena Morris.

The top seven finishers in each event will swim at state.


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