Jackson’s Cook caps career with pair of state titles | Boys swimming

Senior wins 200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke in his final high school meet
By David Pan | Mar 02, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Jackson’s Jonathan Cook came from behind to win the 100-yard breaststroke at the 4A state swimming championships Saturday. Feb. 17, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Cook won six state titles during his high school career.

Jonathan Cook found himself in an unaccustomed position.

With 25 yards to go in the 100 breaststroke finals, the Jackson senior trailed Lake Stevens’ Alejandro Flores.

Cook was going for his sixth state title after handily winning the 200 individual medley earlier in the meet.

Could Cook summon the energy needed to win his final individual race?

“It all came together,” Cook said. “I pushed off that last 25 of the 100 breast. I decided I wasn’t going to lose. I decided I wanted it.”

In a finish too close for the naked eye to call, Cook edged Flores by .05 seconds to cap his remarkable high school career at the 4A state swimming championships Saturday, Feb. 17, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

Cook finished in an automatic All-American time of 55.12 seconds, ahead of Flores, who clocked in at 55.17.

On a day when he admitted his times weren’t what he hoped they would be, Cook willed his way to becoming a three-time state champion in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley.

“I was really proud of myself for getting through it,” said Cook, who also was named swimmer of the meet for the third straight year. “The times weren’t quite there. I definitely expect a lot out of myself. I think I didn’t put up as much as I wanted. I put up all that I had.”

Jackson coach Drew Whorley marveled at how Cook, who was .29 seconds behind Flores at the halfway point of the race, closed the gap in those final 25 yards of the 100 breaststroke.

“That just shows how much heart he swims with and how much determination he approaches everything with,” Whorley said. “I thought it was pretty poignant … not feeling quite the way he wanted to and he still managed to be the best breaststroker in the state.”

In sharp contrast to the 100 breaststroke finals, the results of the 200 individual medley were never in doubt. Cook finished with an automatic All-American time of 1:49.15, almost three seconds ahead of Camas’ Eric Wu, who took second place in 1:52.14.

Whorley made sure Cook understood the significance of his accomplishments.

“You’re still the best swimmer not on your best day,” Whorley told the three-time state champion.

Cook also ended his career as the most decorated swimmer in Jackson High School history. Cook, who will be swimming for Stanford, owns or is part of every record in the program.

“He’s one of those guys that you know he still has his best swimming in front of him,” Whorley added.

Cook also helped the Wolfpack’s 200 freestyle relay to a second place finish behind Camas in the finals. Camas finished in 1:26.53, ahead of Jackson at 1:26.63. The Timberwolves were behind by .72 seconds heading into the final 50 yards. Cook swam the anchor leg.

“He just ran out of pool,” Whorley said. “If it is the 202 freestyle I think we win that. That was an incredible swim by all the guys.”

Cook also swam on the 400 freestyle relay team that finished fifth overall.

In some respects, his senior year has been a challenge, Cook said. Even though he has done some of his best training of his career, racing had not come as easy.

“It’s a senior slump. It’s whatever you want to call it,” Cook said. “I really wanted to come to this meet and show up for my teammates and I did that. I was real proud.”

As a team captain, Cook took a major leadership role with the Timberwolves and the team performed well at the state meet. All three relays and three other individuals advanced to the finals or consolation finals. Jackson finished sixth overall.

“I think we really became a team,” Cook said. “In some previous years, I think we were swimming in the same pool or co-existing. But I think we really became a team and it showed.”

LIMBERG TAKES FOURTH: Jackson sophomore Justin Limberg finished fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke at the 4A state swimming championships Saturday, Feb. 17, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. His time of 57.14 seconds earned Limberg All-American consideration. He also placed ninth in the 200 individual medley. Senior Quinn Greninger took 10th in the 100 breaststroke and 16th in the 100 butterfly. Senior Bryan Phung was 15th in the 100 breaststroke.

The 200 medley relay team of Erik Anderson, Phung, Greninger and Edward Engel place 10th overall.

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