BOYS SWIMMING | DeRego is Wolves’ lone state representative

Damien DeRego long ago earned his state cuts.

Now, the South Kitsap senior might be taking his final competitive cuts in the water.

DeRego, who is the Wolves’ only competitor at today and Saturday’s Class 4A state swim and dive championships, said he does not plan to do more than swim recreationally after this weekend. He is schedule to participate in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events.

“This is my last race,” DeRego said. “I’m sure I will get nervous going into the meet.”

South coach Cliff Rousell said he has been impressed with DeRego, who also serves as a captain, in the week leading up to state. DeRego is seed fifth in the 50 and third in the 100 freestyle preliminaries, which are scheduled for today. Rousell said he believes DeRego can “beat” both of those seeds.

“He’s in a good place,” Rousell said. “He's tapered well.”

DeRego, who advanced to state last year in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, is his family’s latest standout swimmer. Both older siblings — Dana and Danny — also qualified for state.

The younger DeRego hopes to follow his siblings to Washington State University, where he plans to major in civil engineering. That also is his brother’s major.

“It’s bittersweet in that sense,” Rousell said. “It’s just been a real joy and positive experience working with each one of them.”

One difference is the younger DeRego prefers shorter distances.

“I’m better at sprinting because I’m more instinctive,” DeRego said. “But I do have a game plan going into each event.”

DeRego finished third in both the 50 and 100 freestyle at the Feb. 2 Class 4A West Central District swimming championships at Curtis High School. He swam the 50 in 22.35 seconds and the 100 in 48.89.

While DeRego said he does not have goals for where he places, he wishes teammates could have made state cuts to compete with him.

“I wish I could have teammates competing,” he said. “That’s what I miss.”

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