Wolves won't miss a beat

Dennis Anderson vowed he’d be back to see this year’s South Kitsap High School boys swimming team.

Two weeks ago, the coach made a final appearance at the SK pool before heading to Oklahoma City for heart surgery.

Anderson, who has battled heart arrhythmia for the past two years, said he was tired of the drugs and frustrated with the inability to run his heartbeat above 100 beats a minute without a feeling of suffocation.

Anderson had his successful heart surgery conducted at the Cardiac Arrhythmia Research Institute (CARI) at the OU Medical Center.

Prior to leaving for Oklahoma, Anderson said he was confident putting his life in the hands of cardiologist Warren Jackman, one of the premier leaders in the areas of cardiac arrhythmia and ablation.

Anderson chose OU because of its latest advances in cardiology.

“They perform it at UW, but they didn’t want to do the procedure,” Anderson said.

At OU, Anderson had a radiofrequency catheter inserted where a current is delivered to a specific area of the heart’s conduction system in order to destroy the site of origin of the arrhythmia.

The pre-process maps the conduction system in order to find the exact place where the arrhythmia originates. In order to do this a series of catheters are placed in the heart in order to map the heart’s conduction system.

Once the area is isolated, a radiofrequency current is delivered to the area.

The surgery was deemed a success and Anderson is home resting.

Before leaving for Oklahoma, Anderson set a goal of being back with his team by Nov. 28.

He made it clear he is excited about being back to coach this year’s squad.

“I’ll be back. I’m fired up about this team,” Anderson said. “We finally have some depth. Last year (at the first day of practice), we had eight and ended up with 28. This year we have 38 and only six are seniors. We’ll be even better next year.”

Leading the way for SK is junior Chris Smith, who nearly qualified for state in the 500-meter freestyle last year.

Smith’s brother, Corey, who is just a freshman, may pick up in the backstroke where the graduated Jon Exton left off.

Exton was SK’s lone state representative last year.

But SK had a lot of underclassmen make some noise last year at districts and showed Anderson he may have a wealth of state swimmers.

Junior Greg Mercer is close to a state qualifying time in the 100-meter breast stroke, Anderson said.

Juniors Scott Andreason, who barely missed state, and Ian Eddington add depth to the diving.

Junior John Judge, who just missed state in the 500-meter freestyle, and sprinters Andy Knowlton and Ted Boles return.

Anderson said the addition of California transfer Evan Edgecomb, a senior sprinter, is a huge addition to the team and said there are a couple of exchange students who can compete.

Having the depth also means strong relay teams.

Not only does Anderson think the 200-meter freestyle relay could go to state but also break the school record set in 1995.

“The relays are stacked this year,” Anderson said. “I’d like to see them take a shot at the 200 free relay record. We’ve got a shot at that.”

Anderson said Andreason could break a prestigious school record.

“If our diver gets going, he could push that diving record, which I thought was untouchable,” Anderson said.

Anderson only wishes this year’s team was competing against Wilson, which has more than 25 state titles.

Wilson was originally on the schedule Dec. 20, but had to back out.

“I would have loved to face Wilson,” Anderson said. “I thought we’d be able to beat Wilson for the first time.”

But SK picked up Thomas Jefferson High School, which Anderson said is better than Wilson this year.

Also on the tough non-conference schedule is Bainbridge and Curtis.

As for the Narrows League Bridge Division, Gig Harbor and Port Angeles are always at the top, but Anderson said he can see the Wolves taking the division title.

Though Anderson is in his second year as the head coach, he has been involved with SK teams since the 1980s.

“We’ve had some really good teams here, but in the last five or six years this is the deepest team we’ve had, which is what you need (to win dual meets),” Anderson said. “We’ve got a lot of rookies that will develop and we’ve got the depth of quality of swimmers.”

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