Despite graduating state participants, SK has bevy of talented divers

South Kitsap coach Cliff Rousell equated it to winning the lottery.

But the Wolves have lost their ticket.

Joe Rose, who won the Class 4A state dive championship in February, has graduated.

And while Rousell acknowledges he does not have a rare talent capable of winning a title, he is encouraged by the depth returning on the diving board. That is in spite of graduating three state performers in Rose, Kelvin Waterman and Preston Soete. Two seniors, Zak Beerman and Jesse Lebeda-Sutton, are back, the latter of whom was a state participant last winter.

“When you have that quality on the springboard, it doesn’t give the other guys much of a chance to get on,” Rousell said, adding that junior Drew Surowiec is another potential contributor. “Now the (others) have a chance to step up.”

Part of Rousell’s confidence stems for having Dennis Anderson, who preceded him as the girls swim coach at South, directing the divers.

“We have a great dive coach,” he said. “Dennis Anderson is one of the best. If the individual is lucky enough to work with him for a couple of seasons there’s a good chance they will be moving onto deep into the playoffs.”

The team consists of seven divers.

“We’ve got a good core to start out with,” Rousell said. “They’re looking pretty good this early in the season.”

He said the Wolves will rely on their divers to score points as their swimmers are inexperienced. The most notable returner is junior Damien DeRego, who placed sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke at last season’s West Central District III meet to qualify for state. DeRego and senior Michael Idle, who specializes in the freestyle, will serve as captains this year.

“Those guys are great building blocks for what we have coming back,” Rousell said.

Other notable returners include juniors Christopher Dutt and Ryan Gamber in the 100 butterfly, juniors Danny Gonzalez and Logan Peterson in the 100 backstroke, sophomore Tristan Martin in the 100 backstroke and junior Jonathan Steinbrink in the freestyle events.

“We’ve got a huge number of underclassmen,” Rousell said. “I think we’ve got a total of three or four seniors on the team.”

He said South features 35 swimmers, about 10 less than last season. But Rousell said he likes what he sees from the team. The Wolves opened their season Thursday against Gig Harbor.

“We’ve got a good bunch of young fellas here,” Rousell said. “They’ve shown that they’re willing to work hard and they’ve shown some pretty nice technique gains, especially the newcomers.”

Whether that is an improvement from last season remains to be seen.

“That’s a maybe,” Rousell said. “We gave up some speed in certain things. One of the great things about a young team is we can certainly build.”

South Kitsap 2011-12 schedule

Date Opponent

Thurs. at Wilson

Dec. 13 Stadium

Dec. 15 at Timberline

Jan. 5 Mount Tahoma

Jan. 12 at Shelton

Jan. 17 at Foss

Jan. 19 Central Kitsap

• All meets are scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Coach: Cliff Rousell, second season.

Key returners: Zak Beerman, diver, jr.; Damien DeRego, breaststroke/butterfly, jr.; Christopher Dutt, butterfly, jr.; Ryan Gamber, freestyle, jr.; Danny Gonzalez, backstroke, jr.; Michael Idle, freestyle/backstroke, sr.; Jesse Lebada-Sutton, diver, sr.; Tristan Martin, breaststroke, so.; Logan Peterson, backstroke, jr.; Jonathan Steinbrink, freestyle, jr.

Key newcomers: Drew Surowiec, diver, jr.

Key departures: Joe Rose, diver, graduated; Preston Soete, diver, graduated; Kelvin Waterman, diver, graduated.


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