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League meets start this week for boys swim
Boys swim and dive season kicks off with the first dual meets this week for Tahoma, Kentwood and Kentlake in the South Puget Sound League North.
Kentwood, which went 6-2 in dual meets last year, will start off the season against Thomas Jefferson at the Conqueror’s home pool at Kent-Meridian High School.
“We want to swim smarter, right?” returning coach Sharon Wright asked the swimmers as they worked on starts, turns and finishes during a practice last week.
Key returners for the Conquerors this year are Kevin Molloy, Brian Wright, Logan Stoick, Dane Turnbull, Andrew Stone, Cole Hendricks, Nick Creasia, Sean Sturtevant, Blake Rizzo, Billy Thompson, Edward Quintos, and Steven Kroll.
Top newcomers for the Conks include Andrew Portin, Connor Chinn, Rylan Hislop, and Liam Hauck.
Senior Stoick said that one of his goals for this season is to break the 200 freestyle relay school record.
Brian Wright, also a senior, said that one of the team’s greatest strengths is its depth.
“We’re older, more experienced,” said Molloy, who is a senior. “We’re excited for the season to start.”
Stone, also a senior, said he is looking forward to the Tahoma and Kentridge meets the most.
“Kentridge has always beaten us in the past,” Stone said. “We have the potential to be really good, it would be awesome if we could beat them.”
Over at Tahoma returning coach Stephen Magee and the Bears were preparing for their first meet this week against Auburn on Thursday.
“We have a number of strong seniors this season,” Magee said. “We have great depth this year.”
Last year, Magee’s first as the Tahoma boys coach, the team went 4-4 in the league.
Captains for the Bears this season are seniors Tyler Rink, Riley Hayjek, Paul Sweeney and Nick Lawson.
The captains agreed that their team goal for the season is to improve their record and have more wins then losses this season.
Rink added getting swimmers qualified for the state championship meet to his goals.
“We’ve become a closer team than in years past,” Lawson said of the Bear’s strengths this season.
Lawson added that his teammates’ enthusiasm and willingness to work hard is another strength of the team.
“They’re all willing to give it their all,” Lawson said.
Hayjek said he’s looking forward to competing against Kentridge and the rivalry with friends who swim for the Chargers.
“It’s always fun swimming against them,” Hayjek said.
The Kentlake Falcons have a new head coach, Jim Tanasse, this year.
While new to coaching at Kentlake, Tanasse has been involved in the swimming community for 14 years.
Last season the team went 3-5 in league dual meets and started off this season with a meet against Kentridge on Thursday.
This year, Tanasse said, is about rebuilding the team and creating a strong base.
Top returners this year for Kentlake are Jalen Koon, Evan Eidal and Quentin Knox. Falcon newcomers to watch include Patrick Knox, Colin Bryant, Elias Knobloch, Alex Phillips, Ethan Walker and Justin Woo.
The team is growing already, Tanasse said, as nine swimmers showed up for the first team meeting but now he’s up to 24 swimmers in the water and four divers.
“For us, it’s definitely a rebuilding year,” Tanasse said. “Definitely very hopeful as we look toward state.”
Senior Dustin Castle, who swims and dives, said that the team has, “a lot of untapped talent.”
In the same vein, Eidal said he is looking forward to seeing the team grow.
“The effort of everyone is really there,” Eidal said.
Junior Travis Betts said that the large freshman class, and all the new swimmers, will be a big boost to the team.
“It’s the new ones that will get us through,” Betts said.