POULSBO — Though there were several close head-to-head battles against veteran swimmers, the sheer size and strength of the South Kitsap Wolves swim and dive squad powered the team to an easy 134-44 win against their rivals North Thursday.
“We have more people and that can be a bonus,â€ said South Kitsap first year coach Leah Gilland. “We probably just have a couple more (swimmers) that swim year round.â€
North Kitsap went down early in the meet after swimmers Josh Jones and Spencer Nagley were disqualified from the 200 individual medley. South had already compiled a 46-13 lead going into the dive session, at which point another 16 automatically went into their column against the diverless-Vikings.
North head coach Greg Braun remained optimistic, stating that regardless of level, each swimmer on the Vikings’ squad — a team approximately half the size of the Wolves team — gave all they had to achieve their own individual goals.
“There’s two major groups of guys competing,â€ Braun said. “The swimmers that are year round and those that are new to the program.â€
The result, Braun commented, might not beat powerhouses like South Kitsap, but if each group makes major strides each meet — despite not taking a victory — the coach is happy.
Gilland said she was also pleased with many of her team’s individual performances, including Doug McCarthy, who picked up a district time in the 100 butterfly.
“He’s been working on that all season,â€ she said.
The race of the meet came when the Vikings‚ Mikal Reeves, unchallenged thus far in the 100 breastroke, went up against South’s Justin Sharrett. Sharrett closed the gap in the home stretch, but could not surpass Reeves, who won by a hair — about 2/10ths of a second.
“We didn’t come out on the victory end,â€ Gilland said, “but it was a great time, great race.â€
“This is the first time this season someone has pushed (Reeves) this season,â€ added Braun. “You could tell he had to put everything he had into it.â€
Braun, too, was pleased with many of NK’s individual times, including two among the 500 freestyle event — Mason Holmes, who shaved about 15 seconds off his previous time, and senior Michael Hulst, who, in only his second time ever swimming the event, took off about two minutes and 15 seconds off his first time.
“For those guys, that’s a huge milestone,â€ Braun said.
North’s seniors Hulst and Reeves were also honored at the meet, as it was their final home contest.
Both teams have two matches left with which to prepare for the league and district meets at the end of the month.
“I want to put some more training in,â€ Gilland said enthusiastically.
South Kitsap hosts Shelton Jan. 13 and North Kitsap will be at Bremerton Jan. 13.