Skyler Younkin stood in prime position for a championship entering this weekend’s Class 4A state swim and dive meet in Federal Way.
The Hanford sophomore’s district-winning time of 50.70 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly gave him the No. 1 seed time across all three classifications.
It can be tough to make it to the top and stay there, but Younkin succeeded. He won the state fly title Saturday at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.
Younkin powered to the wall in 50.26 seconds and beat Camas freshman Jaden Kim (51.17) and Issaquah senior Will Crewe (51.81). Hanford senior Brady Myers, who was seventh after Friday’s preliminaries, finished fourth in 51.83.
Younkin’s state swim championship is the first in 4A for Hanford, which moved up from 3A after the 2015-16 school year.
“It was nice to be on a section of the podium that wasn’t a foot above the ground,” he said. “It was pretty cool. It was a pretty great experience.”
The sixth-place Falcons racked up 164 points for the best finish in team history. Camas won the team title with 302 points. Richland, which had four swimmers and one diver, was 11th with 75 points.
Hanford/Richland coach Jesse Grow is particularly proud of his teams after snowy, icy weather reshuffled the meet and practice schedule all season.
“Everything that could go wrong this year basically did, and these guys still stepped up and kicked butt,” Grow said.
Richland grad Cody Roberts has held the 100 fly state record of 47.81 since 2009, and Younkin figured reaching that might be a bit lofty this weekend. Instead, he set out to break 50 seconds. Though Younkin didn’t achieve that goal Friday or Saturday, his finals time was just one-tenth of a second off the All-America consideration standard of 50.16.
Younkin joins William Wertz (boys 200 freestyle, 2014) and Christine Miller (girls 100 breaststroke, 1989 and ’90) as Hanford’s only individual state swim and dive champions.
“I’m really looking forward to the next couple years,” he said. “Even though I didn’t go under 50 today, I feel like I have plenty of chances to do that, and I’m really happy with the fact I still dropped almost a second from my prelims time (51.02) in finals, so I’m feeling pretty optimistic about the future.”
Younkin earned a third-place medal in the 200 free with a time of 1 minute, 45.20 seconds, trailing Camas junior Mark Kim (1:40.76) and Richland senior Cole Westendorf (1:44.31). Hanford sophomore John Markillie took fourth in 1:45.37.
Another lifetime best for Markillie came in the 500 free. He finished third in 4:43.91 behind Kim (4:35.15) and Westendorf (4:42.01). Hanford sophomore Jack Elliott swam to 13th place (4:58.58), a spot behind Richland junior Addison Pollick (4:56.67).
On the other end of the distance spectrum, Myers was eighth in the 50 free (21.99).
The Falcons piled up 68 points in the relays by finishing seventh in the 200 medley (1:40.24), eighth in the 200 free (1:30.36) and eighth in the 400 free (3:20.75).
Meanwhile, Westendorf concluded his Richland swim career in fantastic fashion. He attempted the 200-500 free double at state for the first time and finished second to Mark Kim, who swept both events for the second consecutive year.
“Your whole high school season, the main goal is to get a first place in state champs, but I’m pretty happy with it overall,” Westendorf said. “Mark Kim and I have gotten to know each other well this season and become good competitors, so if I’m gonna lose to anyone, he’s a good person to lose to.”
Westendorf took fourth in the 500 free and eighth in the 100 backstroke at last February’s state meet. As a sophomore, he was ninth in the back and 14th in the 100 free, and he didn’t advance out of preliminaries in either event as a freshman.
“Until the end of my sophomore year, I absolutely hated swimming the 500,” Westendorf said. “I had some late success in it my sophomore year when my backstroke felt like it was going nowhere, and then our junior year, I was having huge drops, and I was like, ‘Maybe this is what I should be focusing on then.’ ”
In the 500, Westendorf beat out Markillie and Richland’s Jeff Kern in the championship final. Kern, a senior, took sixth in 4:50.73.
Every Mid-Columbia swimmer or relay in this year’s 4A state meet advanced to an “A” championship or “B” consolation final.
Kern wound up 16th in the 100 fly (56.29) and Pollick 13th in the 100 back (55.92) for Richland.
Walla Walla junior Luke Elmenhurst placed 10th in the 200 free (1:46.89) and 14th in the 100 free (49.22).
In relays, Richland took 12th in the 400 free (3:19.89) and 13th in the 200 medley (1:42.46). The Bombers swam faster than championship finalist Hanford in the 400 free but were in the consolation final because they placed 12th in prelims.
In the 2A meet, Grandview junior Tavian Valenzuela finished 12th in the 50 free (23.20) and 14th in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.40).
WIAA STATE SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
IN FEDERAL WAY
CLASS 4A (winning times and locals; top eight in championship final, Nos. 9-16 in consolation final)
Top three teams and locals: 1, Camas 302; 2, Skyline 206; 3, Issaquah 197; 6, Hanford 164; 11, Richland 75; 30, Walla Walla 10. 200 medley relay: 1, Issaquah (Kyle Millis, Will Crewe, Christopher Leu, Brandon Leu) 1:35.42 (meet record, All-America consideration); 7, Hanford (Brady Myers, Jack Elliott, Skyler Younkin, Matthew Brink) 1:40.24; 13, Richland (Addison Pollick, Jeff Kern, Cole Westendorf, Kyle Prigge) 1:42.46; 200 freestyle: 1, Mark Kim (Camas) 1:40.76; 2, Westendorf (Rich) 1:44.31; 3, Younkin (Han) 1:45.20; 4, John Markillie (Han) 1:45.37; 10, Luke Elmenhurst (Walla Walla) 1:46.89; 200 individual medley: 1, Jonathan Cook (Jackson) 1:48.36 (meet record, All-America automatic); 50 freestyle: 1, Tom Utas (Camas) 21.07; 8, Myers (Han) 21.99; Diving: 1, Jason Gleason (South Kitsap) 474.20; 100 butterfly: 1, Younkin (Han) 50.26; 4, Myers (Han) 51.83; 16, Kern (Rich) 56.29; 100 freestyle: 1, Jacob Leahy (Skyline) 46.24; 14, Elmenhurst (WW) 49.22; 500 freestyle: 1, Kim (Camas) 4:35.15; 2, Westendorf (Rich) 4:42.01; 3, Markillie (Han) 4:43.91; 6, Kern (Rich) 4:50.73; 12, Pollick (Rich) 4:56.67; 13, Elliott (Han) 4:58.58; 200 freestyle relay: 1, Camas (Eric Wu, Jaden Kim, Utas, M.Kim) 1:26.82; 8, Hanford (Myers, Owen McKinstry, Brink, Markillie) 1:30.36; 100 backstroke: 1, Millis (Issa) 50.25 (AAC); 13, Pollick (Rich) 55.92; 100 breaststroke: 1, Cook (Jack) 53.91 (meet record, AAA); 400 freestyle relay: 1, Skyline (Will O’Daffer, Joseph Spaniac, Rehaan Bhimani, Leahy) 3:11.03; 8, Hanford (Brink, Elliott, Younkin, Markillie) 3:20.75; 12, Richland (Westendorf, Prigge, Pollick, Kern) 3:19.89.
CLASS 2A (events with locals)
Top three teams and locals: 1, Kingston 225; 2, Steilacoom 213.5; 3, Anacortes 193; 33, Grandview 8. 50 freestyle: 1, Brisen Pearson (Bellingham) 21.19; 12, Tavian Valenzuela (Grandview) 23.20; 100 breaststroke: 1, Josh Bottelberghe (Columbia River) 55.01 (meet record, AAA); 14, Valenzuela (Gra) 1:04.40.