Olympic’s first Ironwoman has her sights set on a state title

Chloe Partsch is a favorite to win the 100-yard butterfly at the 2A state meet

EAST BREMERTON — Chloe Partsch has been breaking records and barriers her entire career at Olympic.

School records, such as the 100 butterfly and the 200 freestyle, that had stood for more than 30 years now belong to the senior swimmer. In late September, she became the first athlete in the girls program’s history to achieve Ironman status, which means she swam a qualifying time for state in every event.

Heading into this weekend’s 2A state meet at King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way, she has just one more goal left in front of her — to win the 100-yard butterfly state championship.

“That’s her baby,” Olympic head coach Steve Henderson said.

In 2017, Partsch came up just short. Her time of 58.59 was a lifetime best in the event. Unfortunately, the girl in the lane next to her that day also swam her lifetime best.

However, there were no sour feelings, because that girl was Partsch’s friend, Kira Crane of Klahowya. The two swam next to each other every day in practice. Crane finished a half-second ahead of Partsch to win the title.

Partsch finished sixth at state in the 100 butterfly as a sophomore in 2016.

With Crane now swimming for the University of Wyoming, the 100 fly title is firmly within her sights. Partsch swam the event in 59.17 at the West Central District 3 meet last weekend, just off her state time a year ago.

“I’m super excited about it, but I’m also super nervous about it because I know there are a ton of good butterflyers,” Partsch said. “And anything can happen at state. I could get disqualified. Someone could have an amazing swim. There are so many things that can happen. I’m just trying to not stress out about it.”

Indeed, Black Hills senior Rylee Denney was just .8 seconds behind Partsch at last year’s state meet, and she swam a 1:00.35 at the District 4 finals last Saturday. Jillian Webber, a sophomore from Sammamish, is also in the mix with a 1:00.76 at the District 1 and 2 finals. Annika Eisele of Aberdeen swam the event at state two years ago as a freshman in 58.88 and has qualified for the event again.

But Partsch feels that she is in far better shape than last year due to a change in diet, among other things. Her head coach certainly has taken notice of how these modifications brought down her times.

“She had a great summer and swam some amazing swims, and so her confidence is up,” Henderson said. “Her health is great; she’s eating really well. She’s doing everything right.”

And it has paid dividends. Partsch achieved Ironman status early in the year after a Sept. 27 league meet with Port Angeles.

Partsch is adept at the various strokes — she finished fourth at state last year in the 200-yard individual medley, and she is also an accomplished freestyle swimmer — but there is one in particular that has given her plenty of trouble.

“100 breaststroke,” Partsch said. “It took me two years to learn how to even do it legally.”

Partsch has been working at getting the rhythm and feel of the stroke correct with assistant coach Patti Matthew on the breaststroke, and it finally paid off as she was able to get under the 1:14 qualifying time.

“It’s exciting to me, just the fact that no one else has done it before,” Partsch said. “It’s great for the school, and I think it shows a lot with how different training techniques can get someone so far.”

— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at mkrulish@soundpublishing.com. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.

Olympic’s first Ironwoman has her sights set on a state title