The third time’s a charm for North Creek High’s Brandon Stride’s 200-yard individual medley at state.
As a freshman and sophomore at Bothell High, Stride competed in the 200 IM at the 4A state swim and dive championships at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. He didn’t reach the medal podium those years, but all that changed on Feb. 17 as a member of the new North Creek squad.
The Jaguar junior took sixth in the event and added a fifth-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke. He notched a time of 57.73 seconds in the 100 breast and a mark of 1 minute, 54.87 seconds in the 200 IM.
He tallied a PR in the 200 IM, reaching the finish line a full second ahead of his previous best time. He was about two-tenths of a second off his top mark in the 100 breast.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever dropped at state,” he said with pride.
Stride upped his game place-wise this year in the 100 breast, an event in which he took sixth in as a freshman and eighth as a sophomore.
“Every year, it gets even faster in the 100 breast,” he said. “I really do like the competition. It’s really cool to race against guys I know. We have fun with it.”
Stride carried a different mindset into the 100-breast competition this year. In previous seasons, he was bent on breaking the Bothell High record of about 58.8, but was off by about a second.
This time out, he didn’t set a high mark for himself, “all I wanted to do was go race and get the best placing possible,” said Stride, noting that he “can’t help but give it everything I’ve got” each event.
Also at state, Bothell’s Camero Birrell took 11th in the 100 breast in 59.14, Inglemoor’s Quinn McCloskey took 14th in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:55.96 and the Inglemoor 200-yard freestyle relay — consisting of McCloskey, Andrew James, Andrew Jumanca and Kyle Roberson — took 13th in 1:30.56.
Stride, who also swims for Gold’s Aquatics Club of Woodinville, enjoys the friendships that form in the swimming world and mentioned that he’s rooting for his buddy and former Bothell teammate Birrell to break that Cougar 100-breast record next season in his senior year.