Sports

Look out districts, here come the Fab Four

Perhaps there’s too much chlorine in the pool these days at the North Kitsap Community Pool. Or maybe the North Kitsap/Kingston (NKK) swimmers have been hanging out with each other too much and are starting to share personalities. Whichever the case, it’s working for the 400-relay team of Josh Despard, Justin Roulanaitis, Ryan Eggers and Tyler Rencher, who are going into next week’s district meet with a qualifying time of 4:02, according to head coach Greg Braun. The swimmers, however, swear their time was flat-out 4:00.

Hitting the qualification time at the Jan. 11 Foss meet was a bit of an emotional experience for the relay team, said anchor swimmer Despard. He hit the wall, looked up at the clock and raised his arms in a triumphant pose, aiming his celebration at a long-standing friendly antagonist in the crowd. This particular antagonist was assistant swim coach Norene Reeves’ daughter, who’d been taunting the team all season for various reasons.

Foss swimmers, who came in at 3:44, thought the relay team was crazy. They’re not crazy, they’re just interesting. Well aware they’d come in second place, the NKK swimmers were thoroughly stoked to qualify for districts.

Eggers’ exuberance was well matched by the other three.

Feeding off each other’s frenzy has become habit with the relay team.

“When I see all the other guys working real hard, it makes me want to work hard, too,” Eggers said. They all readily admitted to using each other to pace themselves during practices — a habit consisting of equal parts ego and drive.

“I’ll look over my shoulder in the pool to see where they are,” Roulanaitis said.

Come the district swim meet on Jan. 24, they’ll have a simple strategy in mind to make the cut for regionals.

“Swim fast, go until it hurts, then and then go a little more,” Roulanaitis said.

For those who haven’t yet qualified for districts, there are some trying times ahead, Braun said.

Next week the NKK swimmers head to Central Kitsap for a league meet on Jan. 22, followed by the divisional meet on Jan. 24. For swimmers who haven’t yet qualified for districts, the divisional meet is their final opportunity.

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