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Central Kitsap and Bremerton area swim teams splash into 2010
BREMERTON HIGH SCHOOL
Coach: Chriss Kuykendall (first season)
Who to watch: Casey Burt, senior, 100 fly/200 IM; Erin Woolnough, sophomore, 100 back/500 free; Miranda Shearer, senior, 100 free; Miriam Campbell, senior, 100 fly; and Michaela Anderson, senior, 100 breast.
Looking ahead: More than half the team is new to the sport, but first-year coach Chriss Kuykendall believes Bremerton could send at least one athlete to the state championships.
Kuykendall, a longtime assistant who replaces Justin Adrian, has especially high hopes for sophomore Erin Woolnough. The second-year swimmer has already qualified for districts in the 200-yard individual medley as well as the 100 backstroke, 500 freestyle and 400 free relay.
If she continues to improve her times, Kuykendall said Woolnough has a good chance to advance to the Class 3A state championships.
“The potential is there,” Kuykendall said.
Ali Jaques, Casey Burt and Miriam Campbell, all seniors, join Woolnough on the district-qualifying 400 relay.
CENTRAL KITSAP HIGH SCHOOL
Coach: Kristi Balant
Who to watch: Sarah Avery, freshman, 100 fly/100 free/400 free relay; Sam Lingenbrink, freshman, 100 back/100 free/400 free relay; Liane Hirata, sophomore, 100 back/100 free/100 fly; and Mikayla Polzin, sophomore, 50 free/200 free.
Looking ahead: Two weeks into the regular season, expectations are beginning to climb at Central Kitsap.
“It’s not about technique anymore, it’s about our speed and our times,” said first-year coach Kristi Balant. “We’re trying to make those qualifying times, whether it’s for leagues, districts or state. That’s our main focus right now.”
It’s hard to blame Balant for the high standards. The 2005 Central Kitsap graduate inherits a team that includes a returning state competitor in Liane Hirata as well as two freshmen — Sam Lingenbrink and Sarah Avery — who the coach regards as state-caliber swimmers.
In 2009, Hirata advanced to state in the 100 fly and 100 back. She will compete in those races plus the 100 free and the 400 free relay this season. Lingenbrink will swim the 100 back and 100 free in addition to the 400 relay. Avery will race in the 100 fly and 100 free, also swimming the 400 relay.
With the trio teaming up, Balant expects them to qualify for state in the 400 relay. She also hopes to see 15 swimmers advance to the district meet.
“It’s a pretty high goal,” the coach said. “But the way they’ve changed in the last three weeks, and how they’ve developed in their skill level, it’s been huge.”
OLYMPIC HIGH SCHOOL
Coach: Paul Henderson (12th season)
Who to watch: Jordan LaHaie, senior, 200 IM/100 back); Catalina Torres, junior, 500 free; Maxine Van Ichkuel, sophomore (100 free/100 back); Danielle Nelson, sophomore, 100 fly, free; and Angela Barnick, junior, 500 free.
Olympic returns two state qualifiers from the 2009 season in Jordan LaHaie and Danielle Nelson. Neither of them placed, but with a year of experience, they figure to make a return trip.
"It's unclear what to expect, but there is lots of potential on the team," said coach Paul Henderson.
KLAHOWYA SECONDARY SCHOOL
Coach: Diana Smith (fourth season)
League: Olympic League
Who to watch: Shelbi Hart, senior, multiple events; Alison Kriefels, sophomore 100 back/100 breast; Morgan Euzarraga, senior, multiple events; Mari Cleven, senior, 100 back; and Crystal Hanners, sophomore, 100 back/multiple free
Looking ahead: Klahowya could send athletes to the postseason thanks to one of the highest turnout rates in recent years.
The team faces Central Kitsap and Olympic in a non-league meet at 3:30 p.m. Monday at Olympic High School.