Newport wins KingCo league meet, ends regular season undefeated | Prep Swimming

Members of the Newport swim team celebrate their KingCo league meet championship win. - Courtesy photo
Members of the Newport swim team celebrate their KingCo league meet championship win.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

In the ever-competitive KingCo swimming circuit, it takes a strong team to rise above all others.

Newport, this year, is showing itself to be the class of the conference. The Knights, led by strong performances from every class, swept through the regular season undefeated and capped things off with a win at the KingCo League Meet last weekend at the University of Washington pool.

"It was going to be a challenge with the talent we have in our league to go undefeated," said Newport coach Eric Bartleson. "Everyone kind of stepped up at that meet."

Bolstered by strong finishes across the board and a meet-record time in the 200 free relay, the Knights scored 603 points to best Mercer Island (560.5), last year's 3A state champions, and Skyline (426), the reigning 4A state champs.

"We've always been able to be there and to compete with those teams," said Bartleson, who was named the KingCo coach of the year at the meet. "The nice thing about this league is that there are some great swimmers on every team. Our girls push themselves no matter who they are swimming against."

The team of senior Caroline Van Maren, sophomore Sara Simpson and freshman Maggie Pana and Lorea Gwo set a new meet record of 1:40.80 in the 200 free, breaking the 2008 record of 1:41.23, set by none other than Mercer Island.

Relays, Bartleson said, have been a point of emphasis for the Knights all season long.

"One of our goals coming into this season was that our relays would be strong," he said. "I was kind of amazed at how fast the girls went. It was a pretty amazing swim."

Van Maren also captured the KingCo title in the 100 breast in 1:09.09, just beating Skyline standout Katie Kinnear, who posted a time of 1:09.50.

"The nice part about this year is that it's been a team effort from top to bottom," Bartleson said. "It's been across the board in all grades, really the girls pushing themselves up."

Newport now heads to the district meet, held this weekend at the UW pool, then to state, held Nov. 11-13 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

But the Knights aren't looking past this weekend, where Bartleson said he thinks their main competition will again be Skyline.

"My expectation is to have a great meet," he said. "I think it will be Newport and Skyline swimming against each other, our depth versus their top-end speed. It will be a big challenge for the girls, but they've been stepping up every time."

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