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March 1, 2024

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State swimming: Rebecca Yamada of Ridgefield wins 2A state title in 100 breaststroke

Junior is part of big day for upstart Ridgefield swim program

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published:
6 Photos
Rebecca Yamada of Ridgefield stands on the podium after receiving her medal for winning the 100-yard breaststroke at the Class 2A-1A state girls swimming championship at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023.
Rebecca Yamada of Ridgefield stands on the podium after receiving her medal for winning the 100-yard breaststroke at the Class 2A-1A state girls swimming championship at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

FEDERAL WAY – A couple of years ago, Ridgefield High School didn’t even have a swim program, so just to have swimmers competing at the state meet was a win for the Spudders.

Now, the Spudders have a state champion.

It helped that she’s a transplant from Arizona.

Rebecca Yamada cut nearly a second off her preliminary time to win the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 8.86 seconds, outdistancing the field by almost three seconds.

“Coming from Arizona, it was definitely a different atmosphere to get used to, and just the overall feel of the pool and the competition,” Yamada said. “So overall I’m just really happy with how I did this year and I how did here.”

Yamada’s teammate Medea Rusu cut two seconds off her preliminary time in the 200 individual medley, finishing just ahead of Yamada for third place in 2:14.45. Yamada was fourth in 2:15.46.

“We put a lot of effort, both of us, into working on technique and hard, long practices,” Rusu said. “It’s really good to see the work paying off.”

Rusu also placed fourth in the 100 backstroke (1:01.99). Then the Yamada and Rusu capped off the day with a fourth-place finish in the 400 free relay with Julia Smith and another new face to the program, Federica Catalano.

“We’ve really worked hard this season to come closer as a team, and just put our heart and soul in that last race together,” Yamada said. “Our Italian (foreign) exchange student, Federica, this is her last meet in America, so we really wanted to get as high as we could on that podium.”

It also helped the Spudders place high in the team standings, coming in eighth overall.

Paige Dangleis of Hockinson had a pair of top-four finishes, taking third in the 100 freestyle (54.37) and fourth in the 50 freestyle (24.68).

Other local finalists Saturday included McKelvey Brewer of Hudson’s Bay (seventh, 100 butterfly), Sadie Levy of Columbia River (eight, 100 freestyle) and Georgina Romero of Hockinson (fifth, 100 breaststroke).

In the 4A meet, Lila McGeachy of Camas cut her preliminary time by four seconds and took fourth place in the 500 freestyle (5:10.81). Union’s Camille McClafferty was seventh (5:20.46).

McGeachy also placed seventh in the 200 freestyle (1:57.62).

McClafferty joined teammates Alexia Bravo, Joli Fong and Joanne Lin to lead Union to a fifth-place finish in the 200 medley relay.

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