SK flaunts depth, moves to 7-0

A common refrain entering the season for the South Kitsap girls swimming team was its depth.

The Wolves showed it off again Thursday with 10 first-place finishes as they defeated Olympia 125-55 in Narrows League play at their home pool.

Helen Tripple won individual events in the 50-yard freestyle (25.83 seconds) and 100 breaststroke (1 minute, 11.97 seconds) as South improved its record to 7-0. Tripple already has qualified for state in the 50 and 100 freestyle and also hopes to advance in the 100 breaststroke as well.

“She’s got a really good feeling for the water,” South coach Dennis Anderson said. “She rides high so there’s not a lot holding her back. She has a lot of strength behind her.”

Angela Pearson, Tripple, Ashley Becker and Rachel Wester teamed up to win the 200 relay in 2:01.36. Tripple also joined Becker, Desirae Reimers and Wester to win the 500 relay in 1:50.28.

“We’re getting pretty close,” said Tripple, referring to both relay teams. “We just need to work on the exchanges and the little things.”

Pearson, Johanna Steinbrink, Katie Hubner and Reimers also won the 500 relay in 4:19.03. Hubner, who won the 100 backstroke in 1:10.32, said the match was competitive even though the score wasn’t close.

“We didn’t know what we were up against and they’ve proven to be pretty good,” she said.

Becker (1:05.58, 100 fly), Pearson (5:32.03, 500 freestyle) and Wester (59.38, 100 freestyle) were the other individual swimming winners. Stephanie Williams placed first in diving with 135.5 points.

“We have a strong swimmer in every event,” Hubner said. “We can’t go wrong.”

Hubner, Reimers, Tripple and Williams all are seniors, but the upper-class isn’t the only reason why the Wolves are succeeding. Several freshmen, including Becker, Pearson, Ceira Sharp, Johanna Steinbrink and Hannah Stravaaldson also are contributing.

“Some of us came from the private team, Puget Sound Swim Club,” said Steinbrink, who had a personal-best time of 1:03.14 to finish third in the 100 freestyle. “We’ve practically grown up together because we’ve been together so long.”

She has been swimming since third grade and several other freshmen also have competed for a long time.

“It’s been nice,” Anderson said. “They work hard, they’re reliable and improving. It’s nice to know I won’t have to worry about a lot for four years.”

Anderson said he has been surprised by the quick start, but credited his swimmers “ability to just get going.”

“Typically this is a tough time of the year because if a team has worked hard they’re broken down by now,” he said. “But they’re working hard and I’m proud of them.”

It won’t get any easier as the Wolves’ last two meets of the regular season are against teams many consider to be their biggest rivals. The Wolves next meet is at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Gig Harbor and they return home Oct. 16 against Stadium.

“I don’t know if we have enough firepower, but we’ll give them all we’ve got,” said Anderson, referring to the Gig Harbor meet.

An undefeated season might depend on it.

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