After spending its first eight years at The Evergreen State College, the South Sound Relays found a new home this year at Curtis High School. The change in venues did little to slow down the Olympia High School girls’ swim team.

The Rants Group logoThe Bears won 6 of the 11 events at the 9th annual South Sound Relays, a meet that consists solely of relay races, on September 22, to claim the overall team title for a remarkable 7th time.

It marks the third consecutive crown for Olympia, which collected a meet-high 972 points. Puyallup finished second with 888, while Aberdeen took home the third-place trophy with a total of 786.

Steilacoom (640 points), Rogers (544), Black Hills (432) and Lakes (297) rounded out the order of finish among the seven-team meet.

South Sound Relay Olympia High School
The Bears won 6 out of the 11 total events at the meet, helping Olympia win the overall team title of a 7th time in the event’s 9-year history. Photo credit: Grant Clark

“Nine years ago when we started this we had hoped there would be a lot of interest from schools and we’ve been fortunate that has been the case,” Olympia coach Mel Smith said. “This meet gives us an opportunity to compete against some really good teams.”

Olympia’s Lauren Wilson, who was a 4A state participant in the 100 fly, 100 backstroke and 200 medley relay last year, was a part of four relay teams that claimed first-place finishes. The sophomore helped the Bears win the 400 freestyle relay, 2×200 backstroke relay, 2×100 fly relay and 400 medley relay.

Olympia swimmers Jenny Jang, Emma Song, Emerson Moore and Rebecca Norman each were part of two first-place finishes

South Sound Relay Olympia High School swim team
Olympia finished with a meet-best 972 total points. 4A SPSL rival Puyallup was second with 888 points. Photo credit: Grant Clark

“I think we have a good chance at making it to state in the medley relay, 200 free relay and 400 free relay,” Smith said. “Lauren’s already qualified for state in the 100 fly and will likely go in a couple other events. We’ve got good possibilities in the 100 breaststroke in Emma Song and Elisa Myers, and in the 100 back with a couple different people. We really have a good cross section of swimmers this year.”

The Bears opened the meet by winning the 400 medley relay with the team of Jang, Song, Wilson and Moore stopping the clock in a speedy 4 minutes, 16.12 seconds.

Norman and Carissa Putt made it consecutive wins for Olympia after triumphing in the 2×200 freestyle relay. The duo’s winning time was 4:23.23.

The Bears notched a third in the 2×100 IM relay and second in both the 2×50 freestyle relay and 800 freestyle relay before Norman and Wilson cruised to a victory in the 2×100 fly relay (2:05.79)

South Sound Relay Olympia High School and Black Hills High School
Swimmers from Olympia and Black Hills ready themselves for the start of the 2×100 backstroke relay. Photo credit: Grant Clark

Steilacoom, last year’s fifth-place finisher in the 2A state team standings, took first in the 2×100 freestyle. Olympia got a second place in the event from Anna Daniels-Brown and Putt and a third from Lucy Skiles and Myers.

After failing to finish among the top three in the 200 freestyle relay, the Bears closed out the meet by sweeping the final three events, beginning with Wilson and Jang’s victory in the 2×100 backstroke (2:07.00).

Song and Myers followed that win up by taking first in the 2×100 breaststroke (2:27.89).

Olympia notched its last victory by winning the 400 freestyle relay as the team of Skiles, Wilson, Daniels-Brown and Moore posted a time of 3:53.25 during a thrilling finale, which saw members of every team crowd the lanes to loudly cheer on their teammates.

South Sound Relay Olympia High School Trophy
Olympia girls swim team captains accept the first-place trophy at the 9th Annual South Sound Relays. Photo credit: Grant Clark

“We actually had the team title clinched before that race, but it sure was a great finish,” Smith said. “The best thing about today was all our swimmers had season best times. The freshman who did the lead off (in the 400 freestyle medley), Lucy Skiles, that was the first time she ever broke a minute and that’s a big deal in swimming.”

According to Smith, Olympia has 49 swimmers on his team this year, marking one of the largest rosters in program history.

“It has to be close to the largest we’ve ever had,” Smith said. “We have a great bunch of freshmen and sophomores and a strong group of juniors and seniors. This is a fun meet for everyone to compete in. It’s an opportunity for us to have all the swimmers swim. They all get to swim against people who are comparable to them. It’s just a fun meet.”

Black Hills didn’t go home empty handed as the team of Rylee Denney and Emma Prybylski won the 2×100 IM relay (2:13.20).

South Sound Relay Black Hills High School Relay
Black Hills won the 200 IM relay at the meet with the team of Rylee Denney and Emma Prybylski. Photo credit: Grant Clark

The Wolves also received a fourth-place finish in the 2×100 fly relay with Prybylski teaming up with Brielle Bryan and a third place in the 200 freestyle relay. Prybylski, Denney, Bryan and Kalli Bishop comprised the team. Black Hills finished fourth at the 2A state meet in the event last year.

Prybylski finished seventh in the 500 free and eighth in the 200 free at the 2A state meet last season, while Denney was third in the 100 fly and sixth in the 200 IM.

“Eight years ago this program had three swimmers,” said Black Hills coach Henry Valz. “And last year we placed in the top eight at state. This is a great group of girls to coach.”


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