North Creek senior Gabrielle Dang, who had previously won three 4A state freestyle titles, wanted to mix things up this season.
At the beginning of the prep swimming year, she told the Reporter: “I’m definitely wanting to try something different. It’s my senior year, why not? I kind of wanna do the 100 fly this year, I wanna branch out.”
She did just that in a big way by notching the state 100 butterfly record with a first-place time of 52.58 on Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Eastlake’s Katie Kinnear set the previous state record of 53.10 in 2009. Dang hit a 53.10 in prelims.
Sticking with her freestyle success, Dang also won the 50 free in 22.91. Dang nailed automatic All-American marks in both events and both times are personal records.
On the 100 fly, Dang said: “It was pretty unexpected. I didn’t think I was gonna go that fast because at warmup I didn’t feel well in butterfly, but I just swam and I did really well. I’m really happy about it.”
The UCLA commit added that she just wanted to go fast all weekend and wasn’t thinking about setting state records. She was swimming for her team and having fun with no pressure in the way.
“It’s serious, but it’s definitely more of I’m swimming for my high school than I’m swimming for myself or my club team, which is a little different mindset because there, I feel like I have a lot more pressure (at club),” Dang said.
North Creek’s Jazlynn Pak joined her teammate on the medal podium with a third in the 50 free (23.79) and a fifth in the 100 fly (55.81).
Both Dang and Pak were also members of the 200 freestyle relay, which was third in 1:37.76, and the 200 medley relay, which was sixth in 1:48.72. Alyssa Heusted and Baohan Tran completed the relays’ lineups.
They found a way to make the 200 free relay faster than ever.
“We stacked the front half, and so me and Jaz started the relay and they just had to hold on to the lead. So that definitely psyched them out a little bit,” Dang laughed…”put a lot of pressure on them and they’ve done better than they ever have before, so it was really exciting to watch that.”
North Creek took eighth in the team standings.