NKHS places eight in district meet

"One swimmer, Salwei, will go to state "

“POULSBO – The North Kitsap High School swimming and diving team has virtually finished its season with district competition last week. But one of its young stars will still get a chance to shine. In two weeks, freshman Jacklene Salwei will compete in state competition. Salwei is the only NKHS swimmer to qualify for state, but their young team did well at districts, finishing eighth and more than doubling its point total from last year. Diver Sara Rosario, a freshman, will compete in a district allocation meet. If Rosario does well enough, she may move to state too. At the district meet this year the team gained 55 points. The oldest swimmer was a junior, Stacy Brydon. The other competitors were either sophomores or freshman. And that bodes well for the team’s future, said coach Greg Braun. It was a terrific meet, he said of the district competition. Almost all of the swims in preliminaries were best times. Eight athletes competed in districts, Braun said. And just as many athletes have improved over the season, Braun said, several improved during the course of the meet. For example, Kristina Anderson, who was seeded last in breast stroke, moved up seven places when she actually competed. Salwei moved up two spots when she swam the 200 freestyle, and Ashley Rasmusen moved up a spot in the same event Braun said. The kids did really well, Braun said. Salwei even set a new team record in the 200 freestyle. District competition was set up into preliminary swims, semi-finals, and finals. The North Kitsap swimmers found ways to beat swimmers they weren’t even competing against. When Ashley Rasmusen didn’t make the top six in a 100-yard butterfly event and found herself in the consolation round, her time beat every swimmer in the consolation round, and even one who was in the butterfly finals. She was really happy with her swim, Braun said. Winning that heat really boosted her confidence. State competition will be in Federal Way in two weeks, and Salwei is looking forward to it. She wants to break two minutes in the 200 freestyle, and the 5:20 mark in the 500 free. No matter what happens, Salwei said, she has had fun this year. Everything went pretty good this year, she said. I really liked it. I got a few lifetime bests. Salwei said, I had a lot of fun this year. With a team that is young and talented, Braun is already looking forward to next year. The 400 freestyle relay team he took to district was composed entirely of freshman. The 200 freestyle relay team was made up of three freshman and a junior. We knew Jacklene Salwei and Ashley Rasmusen would do well, Braun said. But we were a little surprised, pleasantly so, to see some of them come this far. Braun said, They go to the district meet, and it’s like, ‘Oh my God. This is a big deal.’ And we try to tell them that yes, it is a big deal, but you’re ready, you’re capable. You’ve got the skills. And they’ve done a magnificent job of taking on that challenge. Braun hopes the success the swimmers and divers tasted this year will help the program grow. Hopefully they’ll go out and say, ‘Hey, you can do this. Join the team. It’s fun.’ Braun is not looking too far ahead, though. He will help Salwei train for state. We’ll see what we can do between now and then, he said. “