Camas diver falls short of anticipated top-four finish

La Center's Grotte places second twice

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FEDERAL WAY — Columbia River’s Kara Noftsker has battled asthma her entire life, yet the senior has been able to manage it and not let it slow her down.

But the 200 freestyle turned out to be too much as Noftsker struggled to find her breath after placing third in a time of 1 minute, 55.24 seconds at the Class 2A-1A state swimming championship on Saturday.

Coaches and aquatics staff came to her aide as Noftsker remained in the water. She eventually climbed out and was assisted off the pool deck. Noftsker chose not to swim in the 100 freestyle so she could anchor the 200 free relay.

Columbia River coach Alyson Renfrow said the decision was Noftsker’s.

“She’s struggled with asthma, but is still a great athlete,” Renfrow said. “She wanted to make sure she was there for the relay.”

The Chieftains finished 12th in the team standings.

LaCenter’s Hailey Grotte finished second behind North Kitsap’s Eleanor Beers in the 50 freestyle. Grotte touched the wall in 24.17 to Beers’ 23.65 as she repeated as champion. Bryanna Ungs of LaCenter was fifth and CR’s Makena Wilcox was seventh.

Grotte was second behind Beers again in the 100 free. Beers, earning her second win in the event in as many years, finished in 50.99 to Grotte’s 52.66.

In the 4A meet, Camas diver Jacqueline Purwins had high hopes for a top four finish at the Class 4A state swimming and diving meet after securing the fourth seed into Saturday’s finals.

But the senior, who only began diving in May, slipped to seventh at the King County Aquatics Center with 322.05 points.

“(I’m) mad at myself,” said Purwins after receiving her medal.

Purwins quickly realized she couldn’t stay mad for long simply for the reason she is a relative newcomer to the sport. “It happens. I can’t really do anything about it.”

Purwins said her lack of meet experience was a factor, but not the sole reason she didn’t have the performance she wanted.

Purwins’ first two dives were strong as she twisted and somersaulted through the air. But on her final dive she wasn’t able to keep her form and entered the water feet first and leaning forward, causing a dramatic splash upon her entry.

“This was probably my third big meet,” she said. “I”m really happy I made it this far, but I still have higher goals for myself.”

Camas’ Irelyn McGee finished 13th in diving as well. The Papermakers’ 200 free relay finished 16th while the 400 free relay was 15th.