POULSBO — There were many reasons why North Kitsap Vikings swimming coach Greg Braun had a smile on his face following the first home swimming meet of the season. Even though his squad lost 98-82 against Tacoma’s Wilson High School Rams Thursday afternoon, Braun said his team performed well against a formidable opponent.
The final score wasn’t reflective of how close this meet actually was.
“We didn’t enter any divers, so we lost 10 points right there,” he said. “It was a pretty close meet in all of the events where we competed against each other. We did pretty good.”
Vikings swimmers Ingrid Reeves (200-yard individual medley, 100 backstroke), Stephanie Longmate (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle) and Natalie Fritsch (100 freestyle) nabbed individual first place finishes for the Vikings.
Braun spoke highly of Reeves and Longmate’s abilities.
“Ingrid and Stephanie have the ability to win any race they’re entered into,” he said. “In dual meets they will be hard to beat in their events.”
Longmate said it felt good to win her first race (200 freestyle) during the first home meet.
“It felt great to win. It’s going to get me ready for the rest of season,” she said. “It gets us going off in the right direction.”
Fritsch barely held on to first place in the 100 free holding off Wilson swimmer Rachel Jack by .47 seconds.
“Halfway through the race I was so tired,” Fritsch said. “My arms were getting heavy. All I could think about at the end was to swim as fast as I could. We were only inches apart and I was just trying to get to the line.”
Braun thinks Fritsch will improve as the season progresses.
“She’s in a pretty good spot right now at the beginning of the season,” he said. “That was a big win for her.”
The 400 free relay squad of Talitha Aban, Reeves, Longmate and Fritsch captured first place with a time of 4:08.28. The quartet defeated Wilson’s squad by a staggering 38 seconds.
“We still expect to improve. Our goal was to get under a 4:10 today,” Aban said. “Towards the middle of the season we want to get down close to four minutes.”
Braun said he believes the 400 free relay squad has a chance to break the North Kitsap High School record of 4:06.82 set in October 2006.
“This year our team is looking at doing it again,” he said. “This is just their first meet together as a team this year. At some point, I know they can break it.”
Braun was impressed with the boisterous crowd in attendance cheering on North swimmers.
“There were a ton of people here watching today and the meet ran smoothly,” he said.
The Vikings travel to Gig Harbor High School for its third match of the season at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Gig Harbor.