POULSBO — Rose Rice has certainly lit a fire under the Piranhas’ swimming club of late.
The distance swimmer, who recently competed in the 2004 United States Swimming Open Water National Championships, is preparing for an English Channel swim.
The result of her efforts to accomplish a life-long dream have been infectious throughout the team, said Piranha’s swim coach Mark VanHuis.
“They see what Rose is doing and it gives (the Piranhas’ swimmers) a lot of pride,” said VanHuis. “It’s brought a whole new level of determination and goal setting to this team.”
So, it only natural for the Piranhas to have a team fund-raiser devoted entirely to endurance swimming.
The club’s annual “swim-a-thon” was held three days this week and all team members — including Rice — swam either for two hours straight or swam 200 laps, whichever came first.
The club either received flat donations or money was donated for each lap it swam. But VanHuis said all swimmers made 200 laps — or swam two hours consecutively.
Funds raised go toward the Piranhas’ trips to competition. Ideally, VanHuis said they’d like to have sufficient funding to be able to send competitors to nation-wide events.
“This is the most swimming-related fund-raiser for the booster club,” VanHuis said.
Rice also participated in the three day fund-raiser, finishing with the fastest women’s time June 10 — 200 laps in about 1:07:00. But Rice was not far ahead of 13-year-old Piranhas’ swimmer Ingrid Reeves, who swam only five seconds behind her. Reeves also swam all three days of the fund-raising event, the only one on the team to do so.
“They all work hard when they’re here,” VanHuis said of the team. “They’re all great personalities coming together to form a unique team.”
The fastest swim through Thursday was Ingrid Reeves’ older brother, Mikal, who swam the 200 laps in 56 minutes.
The Piranhas will next compete in an outdoor swimming meet June 25-27 in Tacoma.