Brandon Stride didn’t quite know what to say about the situation. The North Creek senior swimmer was still trying to digest what happened.
Moments earlier, he was named 4A swimmer of the meet after notching two state titles in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke on Feb. 16 at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way.
Stride held the plaque in his hands and simply shook his head.
“It’s a big surprise. I’m really happy with how I did. Swimmer of the meet was the last thing I expected,” Stride said with a smile.
“200 IM, I thought I could win that one. Those guys were gonna give me a challenge and they sure did, I had a great swim there,” he added. “The 100 breaststroke, I wasn’t expecting that. Best time by quite a bit — super good.”
Stride’s times for his first state titles were 1:50.26 in the 200 IM and 56.61 in the 100 breaststroke. He took sixth and fifth, respectively, in those events at state last year. He went to state all four years, twice as a member of the Bothell High squad.
Just keep trying, he said as one of the keys to his success. Stride gained extra confidence in his craft by swimming at big national meets and against a national champion. Next season, he’ll compete for Johns Hopkins University, a Division III school in Baltimore, Maryland.
In other local 4A action, Inglemoor’s Noah Laird took sixth in both the 200 IM (1:56.54) and 500 freestyle (4:46.44); Bothell’s Cameron Birrell took fifth in the 100 breaststroke (57.88); Inglemoor’s Quinn McCloskey took eighth in the 500 free (4:50.05); and Inglemoor took 12th in both the 200 free relay (1:30.47) and 400 free relay (3:20.00) — the relays consisted of Laird, McCloskey, Andrew Jumanca, Kyle Roberson and Peter Yamane.
McCloskey, a senior, had a long wait before his first race of the meet in the 500 free, but then things happened in a flash. First the 500 free and then the 200 free relay right afterward. The 400 free relay came three events later to end the night.
It went from mental preparation to pure adrenaline.
The 500 free is a challenging and satisfying race for McCloskey, who competed at state all four years.
As to what makes a solid 500 swimmer, he said: “Definitely just making every practice, committing even if I’m feeling a little under the weather. You gotta go, ‘cause with the 500 you have to have lots of training ‘cause it’s so long. You just have to have the endurance to just be ready all the time.”