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Whatcom County swimmers capture four championship titles at state meet

Prep athletes post best showing since 2012 with 11 medals

Bellingham’s Miles Cratsenberg fist bumps a competitor Friday, Feb. 16 after winning his heat of the 200-yard freestyle during the 1A/2A state swimming prelims at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Cratsenberg led a trio of Whatcom County swimmers that won championships with two of his own. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)
By Connor J. Benintendi Sports Editor

Three different swimmers from Bellingham, Squalicum and Sehome combined to earn four state championships at the 1A/2A state swim and dive championships Feb. 15–17 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

Bellingham senior Miles Cratsenberg won a pair of individual championships while Squalicum sophomore Dylan Fisk and Sehome senior Jack Legan each won one. Whatcom County swimmers earned the most titles in one season since 2011–12 when Sehome won six, including the 2A team title.

Cratsenberg, who won the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events, upped his state championship total to four, after winning the same events last season.

Bellingham’s Miles Cratsenberg laps all other swimmers in the 500-yard freestyle prelims. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

The University of Utah signee broke his own state meet record, also set last year, in the 200 free with a time of 1:37.32 — less than two-tenths of a second slower than the overall state record of 1:37.17, set by Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian in 2006.

“I wanted the state record, obviously — that was an aspiration of mine — but it was cool to see that I was able to repeat what I did last year,” Cratsenberg said. “There’s a lot of shoulda, woulda, couldas … it was close for sure. But, yeah, I’ve been just thinking about that nonstop.”

Cratsenberg credited his parents and coaches for helping him complete one of the more prolific careers in Bellingham boys swim history.

“I’ve seen and watched many great swimmers before me,” he added. “They’re up on the record boards and I’m just like them and they’re just like me.”

Squalicum’s Dylan Fisk wins his heat of the 100-yard butterfly prelims. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

Fisk and Legan each won their first state championships.

With Fisk’s help, Squalicum finished fourth as a team for its highest placement in program history. Fisk, who also became the first state champion in Squalicum boys swim’s history, won the 100-yard butterfly with his time of 51.60 seconds after taking second behind Cratsenberg in the 500 free as a freshman last season.

In Fisk’s title-winning race, he trailed Archbishop Murphy’s Evan Wold at the 50-yard mark before fighting back to win by just over half a second.

“It kind of just came together at the end to see who really could bring home the race,” Fisk said. “That just has me really excited … it was me who was able to pull that together at the end.”

Squalicum’s Dylan Fisk looks back at the clock after winning his heat of the 100-yard butterfly prelims. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

Fisk added he is proud he can now call himself a state champion, and he has plenty of races remaining with two more high school seasons ahead of him.

“I’m going to try to keep winning as much as I can,” he said. “I’ve wanted to be able to say these kinds of things and show that I’ve been able to work hard and earn a state title. That hard work will get you to where you want to go.”

Legan, after finishing fourth last season, won the one-meter dive with a score of 304.75, nearly 60 points ahead of the second-place finisher.

He became the first dive champion from Whatcom County since Bellingham’s Elijah Drew won back-to-back titles from 2018–20. Sehome finished 10th as a team, its best finish since 2017.

Sehome's Jack Legan dives as teammates Gus Deluca
Sehome’s Jack Legan dives Jan. 11 as teammates Gus Deluca, left, and Kaden Schmidt look on during a dual meet against Sehome. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)

First-year head coach Lauren Heath, who replaced longtime Sehome coach and legend Don Helling this season, said it’ll be difficult to say goodbye to Legan, who has been a captain on the team for two seasons.

“[Legan’s] performance at state this year was the culmination of years of hard work and commitment,” Heath said. “Diving takes an incredible amount of strength and focus, and Jack has worked diligently with our dive coach, Rhonda Stouder, his entire time at Sehome to get to this point.”

Heath added that this season’s finish was also a testament to rebuilding a program that won four straight 2A state team titles from 2008–12 and finished second twice from 2012–15.

“We’ve been building for a few years now, and it’s just been so much fun to see some of these guys who learned to swim competitively in the last two years or so just hit their stride and take off this year,” Heath said.

Here is a full list of Whatcom County podium placers:

1-meter dive

State champion – Jack Legan (304.75), Sehome

7th Place – Nolan Witman (200.15), Squalicum

200-yard medley relay

4th Place – Squalicum: Hayden Nelson, Dylan Fisk, Michael Ciatti, Finn Smith (1:46.96)

200-yard freestyle

State champion – Miles Cratsenberg (1:37.32), Bellingham (state meet record)

50-yard freestyle adaptive

6th Place – Kai Borton (1:03.58), Sehome

200-yard individual medley

3rd Place – Dylan Fisk (1:55.76), Squalicum

100-yard butterfly

State champion – Dylan Fisk (:51.60), Squalicum

500-yard freestyle

State champion – Miles Cratsenberg (4:33.97), Bellingham

200-yard freestyle relay

7th Place – Sehome: Jake Champagne, Jamison Schmidt, Jack Cain, Koen Mathey (1:36.65)

100-yard backstroke

8th Place – Hayden Nelson (:59.19), Squalicum

400-yard freestyle relay

2nd Place – Squalicum: Dylan Fisk, Michael Ciatti, Mac Hofstedt, Hayden Nelson (3:28.65)

Connor J. Benintendi is CDN’s sports editor; reach him at; 360-922-3090 ext. 104.

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