MOSES LAKE — Don’t be surprised if Zach Washburn doesn’t come back next year and win the 100-yard butterfly in 50 seconds just to prove a point.
But for now, the Moses Lake freshman, who has met the 4A state qualifying standard in every single individual event, will have to settle for second place en route to setting the new Moses Lake High School butterfly record with a time of 52.22 seconds Thursday night at the Columbia Basin Big Nine swimming and diving championships at the Tony St. Onge Pool of Dreams.
The butterfly is going to be one fast race for years to come with Wenatchee sophomore Connor Elwyn and Washburn in the mix. Washburn, the Chiefs freshman that’s already broken two school records this season, and Elwyn wowed the crowd, going stroke-for-stroke to the wall where Elwyn slipped past on the final pull to win the most competitive race of the day in 52.11. Washburn eclipsed Brenden Eslick’s 2014 record (52.29) to finish second.
“I was going for both time and place,” said Washburn, who later won the breaststroke in 1:00.70. “It’s been my dream to be on the board and I’m happy to be there. But I know I’m ready to go even faster. I’ve been getting stronger and faster this season and I intend on getting much faster than I swam today.”
Wenatchee (684 points) won the team championship, but the Chiefs (675) are rapidly closing the gap, which made what might be considered a secondary meet with the district and state meets to come, all that much more interesting.
Wenatchee had the upper hand in diving, posting 60 points with an obvious advantage. The Panthers also went 1-2-3 and-4 in the 500-yard freestyle for a massive gathering of points, but the Chiefs countered, winning seven events, including a sweep in the backstroke where Noah Heaps (54.36), Dylan Bond (57.08) and Cole Lindberg (102:21) finished 1-2-3.
“They lost some key pieces from last year, but they’ve definitely reloaded with Zach and Dylan Bond. They’re eight guys deep with state-level swimmers,” Wenatchee coach James Elwyn said. “Racing against Moses Lake only makes both of us better. Tony can put somebody that has a chance to win in every event.
“We can put guys that can place second-third-and fourth with the idea that he won’t have another guy that can beat our best three. When you do the math, we can get them with depth.”
It was certainly a chess match on Thursday and will be again at the NCWAA 4A District 6 Meet Feb. 1-3 at Moses Lake.
St. Onge likes his chances and the way his guys are swimming. Moses Lake has qualified Bond (200 freestyle), Noah Heaps (butterfly, backstroke), Eric Kemper (butterfly), Ander Molitor (50, 100 freestyles) and Washburn in eight events. The Chiefs 200 freestyle relay is currently ranked No. 1 in the state and the 400 and medley relays are second and third, respectfully.
“We had a great chance today. The guys that have qualified for state were right on their times. We had a new school record and Noah qualified in a second event,” St. Onge said. “We also have all three relays, so that’s the most we’ve qualified in quite awhile.
“It’s all good, but the guys are fired up about the relays. We’re closing on Wenatchee, but they must have scored 60 points in diving and we only have one guy.”
The NCWAA 4A District 6 Meet is Feb. 1-3 at the Tony St. Onge Pool of Dreams.
Team scores: 1. Wenatchee 684. 2. Moses Lake 675. 3. Eastmont 329. 4 West Valley 316. 5. Eisenhower 156. 6. Davis 85
Moses Lake event winners
Medley relay: 1. (Noah Heaps, Zach Washburn, Eric Kemper, Ander Molitor), 1:38.31
200 freestyle: 1. Eric Kemper, 1:52
Individual medley: 1. Noah Heaps, 2:01.21
100 freestyle: 1. Ander Molitor, 48.61
100 backstroke: 1. Noah Heaps, 54.36
100 breaststroke: 1. Zach Washburn, 1:00.70
400 freestyle relay: 1. (Dylan Bond, Noah Heaps, Andre Molitor, Zach Washburn), 3:16.18