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Swim: Wolves have one goal left to accomplish
Class 4A state swim and dive meet
When: Meet begins at 9:45 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday.
Where: Federal Way’s King County Aquatic Center
South Kitsap participants: Ashlee Becker, sr., 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay; Kelsey Bagley-Hall, sr., 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay; Nicole Hinely, jr., 200 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay; Paige Pearsall, so., 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay; Angela Pearson, sr., 500 freestyle.
Cliff Rousell had a message for his swimmers at the beginning of the season.
He wanted them to be able to look back 10 years from now and have positive memories of their experience.
Move ahead to the final week of the season, the one that ends in state titles and trophies, and he feels that goal has been accomplished.
“From the girls going to state to the ones who aren’t, all the ladies showed that through the course of the season,” he said.
Rousell said the state swimmers have been doing 6 a.m. taper workouts since districts, and that while he doubts anyone likes being in the pool at that hour, it’s essential to prepare for state.
“We’re getting the mind and body adjusted to work in the morning,” he said. “We’re doing a deep-cycle charging of the battery.”
For the team’s seniors, it’s the last chance to charge.
“I think this is a very special time for them as they get ready to graduate,” Rousell said.
Kelsey Bagley-Hall, who participates on the school’s 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays, said going to state for the fourth time is like an old habit — but never gets old.
“It’s nerve-wracking, but exciting,” she said.
Making it easier is the familiar faces on the pool deck.
“I think we have a really great group put together,” she said of her fellow seniors. “It’s fun to be going with the same group of girls.”
Angela Pearson will swim the 500 freestyle while Ashlee Becker is allocated 22nd of 24 in the 100 butterfly. Joanna Steinbrink and Hannah Straavaldson are relay alternates.
“It’s fun,” said Bagley-Hall, who is looking at swimming programs at colleges in Georgia and Virginia. “All the seniors this year have swam for four years. We’ve grown together.”
In calling Pearson a “versatile talent” who also shows skill at the breast and backstroke, Rousell said that he can see her swimming at the next level.
“A solid distance, 500 swimmer, those are a rare breed,” he said.
The Wolves’ best shot for an individual title is junior Nicole Hinely, who will swim the 200 free and 100 butterfly. She finished 11th and 10th in those events last year, respectively.
“We definitely want to see her make the championship heat,” he said, adding that Skyline’s Katie Kinnear already has secured Olympic Time Trials pace in that event. “The butterfly competition is going to be as stiff as ever.”
He also has high hopes — and a lot to say — about the 400-free relay.
Bagley-Hall has “outstanding starts, outstanding reaction times and is one of the fastest people out of the blocks.”
Sophomore Paige Pearsall, a transfer from Sequim, is “very powerful out of the water.”
Becker “has really been a staple for us on relays (with) a great desire to compete.”
And as for Hinley, “I don’t think there is anyone with better velocity entering the water than Nicole. She hunts people down when they’re a little behind.”
Overall, Rousell said, “I think our 400 relay is going to do better. We’re seeded 13th, but we’re going to be in the top 12 for sure.
“We have some real speed and strength.”