Kirk picks Stanford, Bright signs with UW

Bremerton High swimmer Dana Kirk couldn’t decide, but Megan Bright knew where she wanted to go all along.

Bright, a King’s West senior, has signed a national letter of intent to attend to swim at the University of Washington.

“A lot of it came down to not wanting to go too far away from home,” said Bright, a freestyle specialist who lives in Poulsbo. “A lot of kids want to go far away. I like it here. This is a nice area.”

Kirk, meanwhile, was stressed out, trying to pick between Auburn and Stanford.

“When I left for Auburn, I thought I’d go to Stanford,” said Kirk, who visited Auburn over the Nov. 17-18 weekend. “When I came back, everything had changed. I didn’t know what I was going to do. They’re such evenly-matched schools.”

Her parents, Jeff and Margaret Kirk, helped Dana make the final call.

She’s going to Stanford, where she’ll join her sister Tara, a sophomore who won an NCAA title in the breaststroke as a freshman.

“They were looking out for me for not just the next few years, but the next 10-15 years,” Dana said, alluding to the high-quality education she will receive at the Palo Alto, Calif., school. “Stanford’s closer to home. They knew Tara would be there, looking out for me.

“It was really a tough decision though. I loved it so much at Auburn. The team is awesome. Ultimately, my parents influenced the decision quite a bit.”

Kirk faxed her national letter-of-intent to Stanford coach Richard Quick on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

“I had no idea of what I was going to do,” she said. “Now all the stress is gone. Now I’ll watch all my friends haggle with it (college choices).”

Kirk won the 100-yard butterfly and the 200 freestyle at the state 4A meet earlier this month. She’s the defending national champion in the 100 butterfly and also won a silver medal at the Goodwill Games last summer.

Kirk and Megan Bright, Tacoma Swim Club teammates, will compete in the Nov. 29-Dec. 1 U.S. Open at the Nassau County Aquatics Center in East Meadow, N.Y. The meet features an international field of more than 800 athletes. Bright will compete in the 50 freestyle, 500 free and 100 breaststroke, in addition to the 400 medley, 400 free and 800 free relays.

“I’m very excited about it,” Bright said. “It’s as big a meet as I’ve been to. I’ve been to nationals, but I only swam relays.”

Bright, who made her decision on Friday, Nov. 16, plans to study biology at Washington. Kirk’s leaning toward pursuing a degree in political science.

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