Depth is important in every sport, but particularly in swimming where the top five placers in each individual event earn points.
The South Kitsap boys swim and dive team couldn’t match Gig Harbor in that aspect or in first-place finishes on senior day Thursday. Behind their five wins in nine individual events, the Tides earned a 100-86 Narrows League win at South.
“I don’t know what other changes I could’ve made,” said South coach Tami Lester-Dame, who moved some swimmers to different events to earn more points. “They just have too much depth.”
She said the most difficult decision was to move Danny DeRego from the 100-yard freestyle, where he’s approaching a state-qualifying time, to the 500 free. He finished second there in 5 minutes, 33.68 seconds behind Gig Harbor’s Spencer Neff (5:16.73).
“Danny is one of those kids who would walk on his hands in an event if I asked him to,” Lester-Dame said.
Taylor Rousell earned two of the Wolves’ victories in individual events when he won the 50 free (22.82 seconds) and 100 butterfly (55.83). The latter was significant because it was a state-qualifying time, which means the sophomore now has that distinction in both of his events.
“It’s just surreal,” he said. “I didn’t realize it at first and then I heard a bunch of cheering.”
Rousell was close to qualifying in the event for most of the season and said he was determined to accomplish it against Gig Harbor.
“To be honest, I was making myself really mad to pump myself up,” he said. “I was kind of antisocial, but it was worth it.”
Fellow sophomore Brandon Dravis also earned a win for the Wolves in the 100 free (52.88), while junior teammate Justin Slezak placed first in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.67). Dravis and Rousell — along with juniors DeRego and Zack Joachim — also led the Wolves to victory in the 400 free relay (3:31.17). South also won the 200 medley relay (1:54.21) behind Brandon Lester, Slezak, Joachim and Robert Fusco.
“I was a little disappointed we didn’t get the relays because we were so close,” said Rousell, referring to a state-qualifying time.
The Wolves might have swept the relays, but were disqualified in the 200 free. Lester-Dame said her first swimmer jumped early in that event.
Rousell believes the Wolves are getting close to Gig Harbor and said “we’re ready to come back next year and give them a go.” South (8-3 overall, 7-2 league) first must finish its league schedule at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Stadium. The Narrows League meet then follows at 5 p.m. Friday at Foss.
Gig Harbor 100, at South Kitsap 86
200 medley relay—1, South Kitsap (Brandon Lester, Justin Slezak, Zack Joachim, Robert Fusco), 1:54.21; 200 freestyle—1, Tyler Kaslik (GH), 1:53.73; 200 individual medley—1, Spencer Neff (GH), 2:07.79; 50 freestyle—1, Taylor Rousell (SK), 22.82; Diving—1, Erik Lund (GH), 206.35; 100 butterfly—1, Rousell (SK), 55.83; 100 freestyle—1, Brandon Dravis (SK), 52.88; 500 freestyle—1, Neff (GH), 5:16.73; 200 freestyle relay—1, Gig Harbor (Tyler Kaslik, Rayce Rybin, Robby Sandoval, Neff), 1:33.77; 100 backstroke—1, Dakota Moist (GH), 58.47; 100 breaststroke—1, Slezak (SK), 1:04.67; 400 freestyle relay—1, South Kitsap (Rousell, Danny DeRego, Joachim, Dravis), 3:31.17.