POULSBO — The lazy summer months weren’t so lazy for members of the North Kitsap swimming and diving team.
Several of the swimmers practiced and competed with the pool’s Piranhas Swim Team after school had ended and if the Vikings show more bite this season, that may be one of the reasons why.
Coach Greg Braun, who will co-coach the 30-member swimming team with Marilyn Grindrod, said he is pleased to see the athletes working so hard in the summer months. He also said he believes the swimmers will be better prepared to start the season, a trend that will result in more competitive swimmers for North Kitsap.
“It’ll add depth to our program, which is always something we’ve needed,” Braun said. “We’ll be able to have numerous people in each event; I think that’s exciting.”
Braun said an additional bonus of the summer workouts is that some events, such as the 100 butterfly and the 200 IM, demand more exhaustive training and will be better served by athletes who have trained for several months.
His players agreed.
“It’s great because you don’t have to start over,” said swimmer Christy Jones, one of the key returning contributors for the Vikings.
Unless it unexpectedly doubles in size, this year’s team will have fewer swimmers than last year’s, when about 60 athletes turned out for the team. It’s not the only noticeable change for North Kitsap; the team actually has a pool for the season, something it lacked last year when the pool was being renovated.
Top swimmer Jacklene Salwei, who had two top-20 finishes in state last year, has returned for her senior season, and will be joined by a strong crop of veterans.
Those veterans include Jones, Lindsey Erickson (who swam on last year’s record-setting 200 free relay team), Monica Priest, Anna Dale and Emma Williams.
Two experienced divers will also be back, Krissy Dickson and Sara Rosario.
Both are eyeing lofty goals.
“I want to go to state,” Rosario said.
Both have spent the off-season doing sit-ups, push-ups and work in the pool to show other teams and coaches that NK is a force to contend with.
“Maybe they’ll take us more seriously this year,” Dickson said.
Meredith Ellringer coaches the divers. As this year’s team tries to improve on a year where 14 athletes advanced to district competition, it will also get help from freshman swimmers, including Kathryn Parker and Whitney Glebe.Glebe, who swam this summer with the Piranhas, already learned an important lesson there that will likely carry over to the Vikings. She learned that the hours spent practicing in the pool equals shaved seconds.
“When you go to meets, all the hard work pays off,” Glebe said.
North Kitsap’s first meet will be held at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 11 in the North Kitsap Community Pool. They visit Gig Harbor Sept. 18, then host Gig Harbor Sept. 25.