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Team chemistry aiding aquatic Cougars
By AARON MANAGHAN
Central Kitsap boys swim coach Steve LaHaie has seen some changes in his team since they first hit the pool in November.
Not only is CK growing individually as swimmers, LaHaie said, but even more so as a team.
Theyve really gotten together, LaHaie said. They really enjoy each others company. Theyre looking out for each other. Its just that camaraderie they have. In an individual sport, that can be hard.
But the benefits can be great.
Its in their swims, LaHaie said. You can hear them. Theyre yelling for everybody.
Central Kitsap easily swam by a depleted Lincoln team Thursday in a Narrows League meet at the Olympic Aquatic Center, 128-33, with Cougars atop the scorecard in all but one event.
LaHaie said the effort was particularly strong as many swimmers got an opportunity to step up in the meet with CK knowing Lincoln, which had just six or seven swimmers, was down this season.
Im excited with where were at, LaHaie said. I really see a lot of improvement. A lot of those new guys have really made huge progress. You can see them starting to score more as the season has gone on.
CKs Seth Parker logged his top time in the 100-yard breast stroke, swimming a 59.28-second race that not only shaved a full second off his previous top time this season, but also gave him another state-qualifying nod.
That was huge, LaHaie said. He was excited he pulled that off.
Parker also won the 200 free in 1:51.33.
But again, this meet was just as much about Parkers time as it was the marked improvement for many of CKs aquatic athletes.
We lose a lot of guys next year, he said, referring to the teams seven seniors. So these guys, they have to pick it up.
Each CK relay won, with Ryan Burton, Jeremy Torres, Joe Phillips and Tyler Hirata teaming up in the 200 medley for a time of 2:00.21. Parker, David Richardson and Kyle Bonnell teamed up with Hirata in the 200 free relay, as that foursome swam a winning time of 1:37.7. In the 400 free relay, featuring Bonnell, Phillips, Torres and Richarson, the group won in 3:52.89.
With many members of the team starting to eye the postseason, LaHaie said he liked seeing the focus out of Richardson and Bonnell that he did.
Hes focused, LaHaie said of Richardson. He came in focused. And Kyle Bonnell is starting to get focused again. Hes not having his best year, but he did well today.
Phillips took the 200 individual medley in 2:17.7 while Richardson added a win in the 100 free (52.90). Eric Reichel was a winning with his time of 6:12.68 in the 500 free and Bonnell took the 100 fly in 1:02.29. Torres rounded out the strong efforts with a 100 back victory (1:06.53). Lincolns Trevor Hatch was the lone Abe to win, taking the 50 free in 25 seconds flat.
But beyond them, LaHaie said it was the efforts of swimmers like John and James Mackovjak, Albert Taylor and Payton Lyon, to name a few, that really showed how far the overly young team has come.
Their improvements have been huge, he said. This year, they started off not scoring but theyre moving into scoring roles pretty regularly now. Weve got a lot of guys that are just starting to get confident with different strokes.
Thats helped everyone rally around one another this season too, Bonnell said.
When you know you have your team supporting you, it really helps you, he said. Youre not just doing it for yourself. Youre doing it for your team.
LaHaie said wins like this one against Lincoln, with so many Cougs scoring team points, help pump up everyone. Even team managers Stephanie Frye and Jessica Lingenbrink have made his life easier this season.
Theyve done a really good job, LaHaie said.
PA just edges Oly
When asked if his squad was where hed like them to be at this point in the prep boys swimming season, Olympic coach Paul Henderson began talking enthusiastically about his squad.
Were ahead of where I thought we would be, Henderson said excitedly. The guys have surprised me. Theyre really swimming up to the level of the competition. They work hard. And they keep on top of each other.
The timing couldnt be better.
Its getting ready for the long haul here, the big run, he said. Really, its the time of year to buckle down.
After Henderson said the team didnt get quite as many members in the pool across winter break as he would have liked, the Port Angeles meet was a nice way to continue to get back into shape.
Were just bringing them up a little bit from break, he said. We didnt get as much in the water. Then its just tapering.
While Port Angeles won Thursdays meet at the OAC 97-78, the Trojans were disqualified in one event, gave away 13 points with no diver and were without one of the teams top swimmers in Colton Kohnke.
It was really close, Henderson said. And we had a (disqualification) and we didnt have Colton. So its a pretty even meet.
While a number of swimmers put forth great efforts for Oly, it was the trio of John Wojtech, Tyler Bass and Jacob Nord that did the bulk of the Trojans scoring.
The trio teamed with Connor Kamp to win the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:58.44. Derek Conway-Newton stepped in for Kamp in the 200 free relay as that group won in a time of 1:40.9.
Individually, Wojtech added wins in the 200 IM (2:10.96) and the 100 fly (58.13). Nord was the winner in the 50 free with a time of 24.52 seconds and Bass took wins in the 500 free (5:34.84) and 100 breast (1:13.83).
Of all his teams performances, Henderson was happy to see the progress the relays have continued to make, adding that Oly hopes it can advance as many relays as possible to the postseason.
Im really hopeful, the way theyre swimming, he said. But you never know whats going to happen. You never know what you can expect. But Im confident that with what we have, well do well.
With so many swimmers stepping up, Henderson said efforts like the ongoing improvement shown by Scott Lutz epitomizes much of the teams growth.
Hes come on strong. Hes been great to watch, Henderson said. Everybody is swimming well. Its just different levels.
Klahowya remains at two members (Justin Kirchner and Joey Chapman), so the team is still swimming with Oly in later heats.