Top, from left, North Creek High coach Samantha Dodson, Alyssa Heusted and Jazlynn Pak; bottom, from left, Baohan Tran and Gabrielle Dang. They are gathered after taking fourth in 200-yard freestyle relay at the 4A state swim and dive meet last Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Dang won the 100-yard freestyle and took second in the 50-yard freestyle. Courtesy of Claire Anderson.

Top, from left, North Creek High coach Samantha Dodson, Alyssa Heusted and Jazlynn Pak; bottom, from left, Baohan Tran and Gabrielle Dang. They are gathered after taking fourth in 200-yard freestyle relay at the 4A state swim and dive meet last Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Dang won the 100-yard freestyle and took second in the 50-yard freestyle. Courtesy of Claire Anderson.

North Creek’s Dang notches 100-yard freestyle victory at 4A state meet

North Creek swimmers made a mammoth splash at their inaugural 4A state meet.

On Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, junior Gabrielle Dang won the 100-yard freestyle (49.98 seconds) and placed second in the 50-yard freestyle (22.95), posting automatic All-American times in both events.

“She was really psyched,” said coach Samantha Dodson of Dang aiming to break the 50-second mark in the 100 free. “It’s impressive. That was really exciting, and thanks to swimming for coming down to a hundredth of a second.”

North Creek sophomore Jazlynn Pak took second in the 100-yard butterfly (54.92) and third in the 50 freestyle (23.59) with All-American consideration times in both.

Dang and Pak also led the Jaguars to a fourth-place medal in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:39.49) and a fifth-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay (1:50.13). Also swimming in the relays were freshmen Alyssa Heusted and Baohan Tran.

North Creek placed sixth in the team standings with 128 points.

Dang, who won the 50 and 100 frees at state for Inglemoor last year, waivered to attend new school North Creek this year. She is proud and honored to secure another state title.

“It felt exhilarating looking up at the scoreboard to see the number 1 next to my name,” she said in an email. “I was ecstatic knowing that I would still keep my state title and it felt good to be shown that my hard work is heading in the right direction.”

Coach Dodson said that Dang is a silent leader by example.

“She has a ton of confidence and I think that really rubbed off on the other girls as well,” she said.

Dang pushed the Jaguars to succeed in the relays by offering tips on how to start strong, and they all broke down the math of the relays to get the most out of their training and nail solid split times.

“It’s a testament to her leadership in the pool,” said Dodson, adding that Pak especially elevated her performance by swimming with Dang.

On the relays, Dang said the girls supported each other and it was fun to hype each other up for dual meets, the KingCo championships and the final relay at state. Dang and Pak — who attended Bothell last year — were already close friends before the season and Dang said her talented teammate pushed her harder to excel in the relays.

“It was also really great seeing the other two girls grow as athletes and my friends throughout the season. They truly made 5 a.m. practices and this high school swim and dive experience a lot more enjoyable,” Dang said.

Dang said that while she was elated to swim faster than ever in her individual events, she wished to swim a little quicker. It’s a huge step in her swimming career, she said.

With North Creek being a new school on the 4A KingCo and state scene, Dang felt it was fun for the swimmers to start from scratch and test the waters on their own.

“It is an honor to be the first person from North Creek to ever win state, and it shows that we’re new but we’re here to stay,” she said.

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