Focus and confidence helped Catherine Yu rip through the pool on her way to a state title.
The Redmond High sophomore topped the 4A state 100-yard breaststroke field with a blistering time of 1:01.61 on Nov. 16 at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way. With an especially speedy second 50, Yu notched an automatic All-American qualification time, which is the second fastest in Washington state 4A history and topples her own Redmond High record.
Yu said that she had an enjoyable state experience.
“Being able to race with both my club teammates and all of my friends from high school gave me some extra energy. It was definitely stressful at times when I had very little turnover between events, but it was also very exciting and it was a high-energy meet,” she said.
Redmond, which finished seventh in the team standings, also received solid swims from freshman Michelle Chen (third in the 100-yard backstroke in 57.38); the 400-yard freestyle relay of sophomore Andrea Wu, senior Jamesyn Gray, Chen and Yu (fourth in 3:36.11); the 200-yard medley relay of Chen, Yu, Wu and Gray (fifth in 1:49.35); Yu placed fourth (2:04.48) and Chen placed seventh (2:09.77) in the 200-yard individual medley; junior Isabella Bono placed seventh (5:12.64) in the 500-yard freestyle; and Wu placed 11th (25.04) in the 50-yard freestyle.
Additional Redmond state qualifiers were seniors Cassandra Ross and Tina Wen; sophomore Ella Reedy; and freshman Eleanor Benjamin.
Led by head coach Julie Barashkoff and assistant coaches Alison Kairis and Andrew Barashkoff, the Mustangs set new school records in the 200 medley relay (1:49.31), 200 freestyle relay (1:40.37) and 400 freestyle relay (state time), featuring Chen, Yu, Wu and Gray; Yu in the 200 IM (2:02.99), an All-American consideration time; Yu in the 100 breaststroke (state time); and Chen in the 100 back (state time).
“This is truly an exceptional group of girls, both in the pool as well as the classroom,” the coaches said. “This group of very dedicated athletes has trained all season outdoors at Strattonwood Pool while the Redmond Pool continues renovations.”