POULSBO — Just after North Kitsap swimmer Nathan Ramey signed his letter of intent to swim at the University of Utah, he relayed a story of how that moment nearly never came to pass.
He and his father had made contact with a Utah assistant coach at Summer Junior Nationals, and the conversation was a positive one. They exchanged contact information, but Ramey never heard from the coach again.
“I ended up emailing the head coach, and he said the assistant coach quit for family purposes and didn’t give the information over,” Ramey said.
Fortunately, head coach Joe Dykstra was eager to have Ramey come out to Salt Lake City. Once he visited, he knew Utah was the place for him.
“I love the team there, and as soon as I visited I basically knew its where I wanted to go,” Ramey said.
On Nov. 20, Ramey became the sixth Kitsap boys swimmer to sign with a Division I or II program this fall. Kingston’s Ethan Fox, Tim Gallagher and Aron Markow all signed last week, and Bainbridge’s Kevin Houseman and Garrett Waite have also committed to swim at the next level.
Whether it was his high school or club coaches, they all described Ramey in a similar manner — as a “ridiculously hard worker.”
“He’s got a lot of room to grow still,” said Poulsbo Piranhas head coach Jerry Johnston.
And Ramey hopes that hard work will pay off come February, when it is expected he will swim at the 2A state championships. Last year, he finished second in the 200-yard freestyle and third in the 500-yard freestyle, though Johnston noted his best events are not ones in which high school swimmers compete, such as the 400 IM.
But it has been quite a journey for Ramey to even get to this point. Although he has been swimming with a club team for much of his life, he did not believe a few years ago he would swim in college. But over the course of his high school years, he began to take swimming more seriously.
“It was high school swimming that really drove me to swim faster,” Ramey said.
Ramey and his teammates will kick off their season with a home dual meet on Dec. 4 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.