Girls swimming All-Region: Columbia River’s Monica Bottelberghe

Sophomore won Class 3A state crown in 200 freestyle

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter


photoMonica Bottelberghe, Columbia River High School, All-Region Girls Swimming Athlete of the Year.


Monica Bottelberghe

Season highlights

Won the 3A state 200-yard freestyle title in Federal Way after swimming the event in a personal best time of 1 minute 50.55 seconds — more than four secons faster than the runner-up.

Finished second in the state 3A championship, posting a time of 51.16 seconds — another personal best, and quick enough to qualify Bottelberghe for junior nationals.

Qualified for a series of events heading into the state championships, but could only enter two individual races and two relays.

More about Monica

She enjoys taking pictures, and was once recognized in a Top-100 photography contest.

She runs track, and used to play center in basketball, or as she calls it “the person who stands in the middle and tips the ball.”

Her sister, Jessica, also won state swimming titles while at Columbia River, and is now on scholarship at Boise State.

Next year and beyond

Right now, Bottelberghe is just focused on improving in her sport any way that she can — flip turns, breathing, stamina, etc. She entered the season extremely motivated, and is hoping to land a scholarship of her own one day, and win a few more state titles, too.

Columbia River High School swimmer Monica Bottelberghe waited a long time to win a 3A state championship. When she finally did — in the 200-yard freestyle — it seemed like she waited just as long for the second place finisher to touch the wall.

The sophomore blew away the field by posting a time of 1 minute 50.55 seconds, which was more than four seconds faster than the runner-up. She also placed second in the 100 freestyle, making her The Columbian All Region Girls Swimmer of the Year.

“I came into the season highly motivated. Every time I got in the pool, I had something to work on,” Bottelberghe said. “I probably trained harder than I ever have.”

Her freshman year, Bottelberghe placed second in the 200 and fifth in the 100.

And while she would have liked to have taken first in the 100 this year, she did swim a personal best time of 51.16 seconds that allowed her to qualify for junior nationals.

Even Meadowland’s Anna Keane, who won the 100 was surprised to have outswam Bottelberghe, confessing that her goal was “to just stay close with her.”

Monica’s results can largely be attributed to her work ethic, but the gene pool may have played as large a role as the practice pool.

Bottelberghe’s mother was a swimmer, her father was a diver, and her sister, Jessica, is a former state champion from River who now swims for Boise State.

Monica qualified for a plethora of events heading into in the state championship, but swimmers are only permitted to enter two individual races and two relays. So perhaps down the road, Monica might winchampionships in an individual medley or butterfly event.

Until then, she is just focused on getting better and perhaps securing a scholarship down the road.

“Every day I go in the pool, I have something to work on,” Bottelberghe said. “I’m just focusing on the small things.”

Matt Calkins can be contacted at 360-735-4528 or by email at

Rest of All-Region team

Ada Beale, so., Seton Catholic: 4th in 2A 200 IM; 11th in 100 free.

Anna Panebianco, fr., Camas: 3rd in 3A 100 backstroke; 11th in 50 free.

Darya Samiee, so., Mountain View: 5th in 3A 500 free; 9th in 100 breaststroke.

Julia Sanders, jr., Hockinson: 2A state champion 50 free, 100 butterfly.

Felicia Williamson, sr., Union: Placed 6th in 4A 100 freestyle.

Andrea Young, jr., Union: 4th in 4A 100 breaststroke; 9th 200 free.