Swim teams are making a splash

Sporting a Viking helmet, North Kitsap’s Sarah Pearson cheers her team poolside during the Vikes’ first home meet, Sept. 11 against Kingston and Central Kitsap high schools.                                                         - Kipp Robertson / Herald
Sporting a Viking helmet, North Kitsap’s Sarah Pearson cheers her team poolside during the Vikes’ first home meet, Sept. 11 against Kingston and Central Kitsap high schools.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson / Herald

POULSBO — When Kingston High School sent its first girls to State in 2011, it came as something of a surprise.

The 200-yard medley relay team was allocated into the state meet after swimming the relay in 2 minutes 13.52 seconds at Districts. The team then swam a 2:05.08 and made it to the finals.

Nicole Avila, Katherine Andersen, Annika Barrett and Miranda Hoffer were the first Buccaneers to swim at a state meet; Kevin Fox became the first Buccaneer to stand on the podium at the boys state meet in winter.

The relay team took 13th place in 2011. Andersen, a sophomore, expects more out of this season.

“We have a lot of girls who really want to try,” Andersen said. “I think, hopefully, we’ll make it to State with more than just a relay [team].”

If the season can be foreshadowed at all by the Bucs’ and North Kitsap Vikings’ home meet Sept. 11, going to State with more than a relay team may be in the cards.

Swimming against Central Kitsap, the Bucs broke multiple school records, including Andersen. Andersen broke the school record for the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:28.42 (2:36.00) and the 100-yard breaststroke, 1:15.31 (1:21.10).

The 400 free relay team, too, broke a school record by two seconds.

There will also be competition for placement on the 200-yard medley relay team, as Avela’s graduation left a spot open.

Head coach Pam Manix said Madeline Glad and Alice Healy are her top-tier swimmers. They could end up competing for a spot on the relay team. Manix takes over as coach following Laura Tetrick’s resignation. Tetrick moved out-of-state.

Newer swimmers also surprised Manix during the non-league meet Sept. 11.

Jennifer Fisher and two freshmen, Hannah Harness and Sorana Nance, are showing promise.

As a swimmer on the Poulsbo Piranha Swim Team, Andersen has practiced through the off-season. This includes swimming twice per day. To make it to State, she said, would be a summation of her hard work.

And, for that matter, State would be a reason for everyone’s hard work.

“It would be nice,” Manix said. “Last year was a really awesome thing …”

Club swimmers could benefit NK team
While Buccaneer swimmers are competing for those top tiers, so are the North Kitsap Vikings.

Head coach Greg Braun said the depth of his girls’ team this season is deeper than its been for a few years. The Vikes’ 200 medley relay team during the Sept. 11 home meet was 1.5 seconds from beating the school record.

A group of young swimmers, too, all earned District qualifying times at the home meet. There are many this season who have come up from club teams.“There are new kids coming in with an attitude,” Braun said.

Those veteran swimmers on the team have found new swimmers, many from club teams, competing at a similar level. Having a team of competitive swimmers will push both those coming from club and those who swim only with North Kitsap, Braun said.

In 2011, the Vikes’ 400 free relay (Bethany Aban, Lizzie Donnelly, Nerissa Lemon and Carrie Snook) qualified for the state meet. The team did not advance to the finals, placing 17th in the preliminary race.

Aban, who graduated last year, was the only singles swimmer from the North Kitsap School District to compete at the 2011 state meet. She finished eighth in the 200-yard individual medley and fourth in the 100-yard butterfly.

Aban put multiple school records up during her time on the team — records Braun said those new to the team will be after this season.


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