KINGSTON — During the early part of the 2010s, the Kingston boys swimming program had been having some success at the league level, and typically saw at least a couple of swimmers get to state.
But with an infusion of young talent, the Bucs quickly began climbing the statewide ladder. The team scored just 12 points a the 2015 2A state meet but made a quantum leap forward in 2016, finishing in fourth place. Then, in 2017, this talented young team brought home a state championship.
Seniors Tim Gallagher, Ethan Fox and Aron Markow have been a big part of that success. The three of them, along with the now-graduated Quincy Walker, hold the 2A state meet record in the 200-yard medley relay (1:35.55). Gallagher also holds 2A state meet records in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke, and Fox and Gallagher were part of last year’s record-breaking 400-yard freestyle relay team.
Fox and Gallagher have been a part of the team since their freshman year, and Markow transferred over from Bainbridge last year after moving. He also joined Fox and Gallagher on the Poulsbo Piranhas club team.
On Wednesday, Nov. 14, National Signing Day, the trio put pen to paper and committed to swimming at the next level.
“We have three gentlemen here who work extremely hard,” head coach Mark VanHuis said. “They have set a standard within our program of work ethic and competition level.”
Gallagher will attend the University of Hawaii and plans to study psychology. Fox will head to Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction and intends to be a business/finance major. And Markow will swim for the University of Wyoming and go into the pre-veterinary program.
For all three of them, choosing their schools was not solely about swimming. Though they may have dreams at night of one day representing Team USA at the Olympics, they also recognize that the real world will eventually come calling.
“Careers last an entire lifetime, and swimming is really a small portion of your life,” Markow said. “But I’m really lucky to have coaches and people supporting me.”
“Swimming kind of came second, but I’m lucky enough to be able to be on their team,” Fox added, noting that he “fell in love” with the Colorado Mesa campus when he visited.
The trio will also likely have to get used to new roles. As freshmen, they were immediately able to make an impact for their school teams, but with seasoned swimmers from around the country and the world in these programs, they may not see time on the “A” relays right away.
Fortunately, as VanHuis has noted many times, the Kingston program is full of swimmers who are unselfish and great teammates to one another.
“In practice, hopefully, I’ll be able to help push people,” Gallagher said.
The Kingston boys swim season kicks off at 3 p.m. on Dec. 4 against Klahowya at the Olympic Aquatic Center. The first home meet is not until Jan. 10 against Port Angeles.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.