Smaller-than-usual Trojans still packing quite a punch
June 11, 2008 · Updated 3:55 PM
Olympic girls swim coach Paul Henderson is wondering how October is already here. After all, Thursdays 103-56 win against Port Townsend at the Olympic Aquatic Center marked the midpoint for area swimmers.
Im still trying to figure out where the summer went, Henderson said. Then, the whole seasons gone. Were already down to single-digit practices for the girls. Now its just trying to fine tune.
The Trojans are hoping that although they have a smaller group this season, they can still be affective competitors in the pool. Henderson said this years team is now down to about 20 after starting with 30.
Its a good group of girls, Henderson said. Theyre a smaller bunch.
But that doesnt mean they dont pack a punch.
Its a good mix, Henderson said. Theres some new swimmers learning the ropes. And some returning swimmers that have started where they left off last season. Its great to see.
Leading the Trojans back this year is Kelly Fitzgerald, who placed eighth at the 3A state swim championships in the 100-yard breaststroke. And while no longer a club swimmer, Henderson said Fitzgerald is getting back into competitive shape just fine.
This is a different year for her, Henderson said. Shes really stepped up leadership wise. Shes kind of working into shape, getting back into it. Shes always fun to watch.
But shes not the only one to watch in the water this season.
Kelsey (Strickland)s getting back down there, Henderson said. Kristie (Brace)s getting there. And Lisa Patrick has a lot of opportunities. Shes good at a number of things.
Tanzy Caulkins also returns for Oly.
But after Oly graduated key contributors like Heather Nelson and Natalie Kelner, Henderson said its been an interesting process to see who would fill those gaps.
I wasnt sure where wed stand, he said. I kind of wondered whod step up this year. Its been kind of fun to see.
As a result, Henderson said everyone has been rising to the occasion, even that means personal improvement instead of state-qualifying times, especially from swimmers like Rachelle Burnett and Ellie Bright.
(Rachelle)s working up, working in a harder lane, Henderson said. (Ellie) probably wont go to districts, but shes working hard and dropping times. Shes stepping it up a little bit.
Its swimmers like those that Henderson said make the biggest waves in the coachs mind.
Theyre always working so hard, he said. They dont always get the credit, but a lot of times, theyre the ones I notice the most.
With the season moving along quickly, Henderson said the team is coming along as planned.
Were where I want to be, he said. We just need to maintain that focus. Just take each practice for what its worth. And put the effort into it.
In a tough Olympic League that includes the likes of perennial contenders Peninsula and Port Angeles, Henderson said he sees Oly somewhere in the middle.
I feel like were in the middle of the pack, he said. Port Angeles and Peninsula especially, theyre up there. Were right in the middle of things, right in the thick of it. Its a good place to be.
Olympic and Klahowya square off in the pool at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Olympic Aquatic Center.