The Bellevue Wolverines girls swim team made the 28-mile trek home to Bellevue from the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way with the Class 3A state championship trophy for the second consecutive season on Nov. 10.
The Wolverines, who compiled a total of 272 team points, finished ahead of second-place Lakeside (259 points) at the Class 3A state swim meet. Before the Wolverines arrived on the Bellevue High School campus, they made a quick stop for a celebratory meal at a Bellevue Red Robin restaurant where they basked in the glory of their state championship.
“We have a tradition of going to Red Robin (after winning a state crown). It was a well-deserved dinner,” Bellevue head coach Lisa Van Loben Sels said. “Winning a state title was quite a feat. The girls were very excited. They really fought hard to get it done.”
Bellevue junior Janelle Rudolph dominated at the Class 3A state meet. Rudolph earned first place in the 50 free with a time of 22.85. Rudolph broke Mount Rainier athlete Leona Jennings’ state record of 22.92, which she set in 2008. Rudolph captured first place in the 100 back, clocking a time of 53.73. Rudolph was also a member of the 400 free relay team, which also included Delora Li, Rachel Jin and Aneta Wyzga that registered a first-place finish with a time of 3:27.5. The quartet broke their own meet record, which was set in 2017. Wyzga registered a first-place finish in the 200 free clocking a time of 1:49.67 and collected second place in the 500 free with a time of 4:59.56.The 200 medley relay team consisting of Rylee Siripipat, Maria-Elena Acevado, Rudolph and Jin earned first place with a time of 1:46.53. Siripipat captured second place in the 200 IM and Jin earned third place in the 200 IM.
Van Loben Sels, who is in her seventh season as head coach, said her squad varsity team is comprised of athletes who compete on a wide array of different club teams in the offseason.
“We have a lot of camaraderie, which is interesting because obviously they go to the same high school, but they swim on different (club) teams year around. High school swimming does a really nice job of bringing the girls together,” Van Loben Sels said. “These kids would normally be swimming against each other rather than with each other.”
Van Loben Sels is already looking forward to the 2019 season. The Wolverines will have the opportunity to win their third state title in a row.
“The kids know what to expect. They come into the season and hit the ground running. It is proving to be a strength of ours year after year,” Van Loben Sels said. “This year we had three divers qualify for state. That is unheard of. Most teams are hard-pressed to get one diver to state.”