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Feb. 7, 2023

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Mountain View, Evergreen boys swimmers place at 3A state finals

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
2 Photos
Mountain View’s Griffin Barlow, right, competes in the 50-yard adaptive backstroke during the 3A boys state swimming championships on Saturday in Federal Way.
Mountain View’s Griffin Barlow, right, competes in the 50-yard adaptive backstroke during the 3A boys state swimming championships on Saturday in Federal Way. (Will Denner/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

FEDERAL WAY — Two years after his first state appearance as a freshman, Griffin Barlow felt right at home in his return to the King County Aquatic Center.

Barlow, a junior, along with Evergreen’s Matt Skimmyhorn, were two local swimmers who competed in the 50 free and 50 back adaptive events, which are designed for swimmers with special needs.

Barlow was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, and grew up in southeast China until he was adopted at age 11 by Jennifer Barlow, a Vancouver resident.

In his third year competing for the Mountain View boys team, Barlow earned medals in both events, placing fifth in the 50 back and seventh in the 50 free. He also earned a pair of podium finishes as a freshman. No state championships were held in 2021, his sophomore season.

“It feels like I’ve just been back here last week,” Barlow said. “It feels fresh, and it feels like I’m home again since I was (a) freshman. It feels good to be back, to compete with (swimmers) at the same level as me.”

For Skimmyhorn, a freshman with autism, this season was not only his first in high school, but in all of competitive swimming.

Unbeknownst to his parents, Robert and Debbie Skimmyhorn, he signed up for the swim team before the season started and was welcomed by coaches and teammates.

Skimmyhorn placed fourth in the 50 back and eighth in the 50 free. His coach, Tyler Hunt, estimated Skimmyhorn improved his times by approximately one minute from the beginning of the season.

“It was just whenever I needed a fast time, I needed it,” Skimmyhorn said.

Mountain View placed third in the 200 free relay finals, jumping several spots from eighth place in Friday’s prelims. The team of Owen Wong, Yonten Ghadong, David Kilway and Justin Xue shaved more than a second off from the prelims to clock a 1:28.19 on Saturday.

Mercer Island, the team state champion, won the event in 1:24.16 and Lakeside School placed second with a time of 1:25.86.

The Thunder placed 13th out of 32 teams with 58.5 points.

3A STATE MEET

Saturday’s finals
Local results
Team scores — 1, Mercer Island 367.5; 2, Lakeside School 258; 3, Bainbridge Island 210. Also: 13, Hockinson 92; 30, Kelso 4; 32, Prairie 2.
200 medley relay — 10, Mountain View (Yonten Ghadong, Justin Xue, David Kilway, Owen Wong) 1:39.03.
50 freestyle — 10, Justin Xue (Mountain View) 22.14; 12, Owen Wong (Mountain View) 22.50; 15, Spencer Thomas (Kelso) 22.67.
100 freestyle — 15, Spencer Thomas (Kelso) 49.60.
200 free relay — 3, Mountain View (Owen Wong, Yonten Ghadong, David Kilway, Justin Xue) 1:28.19.
100 backstroke — 16, Yonten Ghadong (Mountain View) 57.89.
100 breaststroke — 16, Justin Xue (Mountain View) 1:04.84.
400 free relay — 16, Prairie (Kairos Phed, Jack Houlahan, Vladyslav Danylyuk, Seth Hahn) 3:26.50.

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