South Kitsap sends nine to state meet this time around

From zero to nine in just one season. Dennis Anderson will take that.

Anderson, the South Kitsap girls swimming coach, has seen his program go through the normal ups and downs any high school program goes through. But having not qualified any swimmers for last year’s state final, that bothered him.

This year the Wolves claimed nine spots, sending Anderson and SK back to the state meet.

“It’s very exciting,” Anderson said Wednesday, as his girls wrapped up practice in preparation for Friday’s preliminaries at the KingCo Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

The top 16 times from Friday’s races moved on the Saturday’s finals beginning at 5:30 p.m.

“They’re just eating it up,” Anderson said of his girls. “You see them work so hard, they kind of walk around like, ‘Yeah, we deserve this.’ Which they do. That’s the kind of feeling I get from them.”

That feeling came on late in the year, as the Wolves waited until the last meet to get swimmer qualified for the state meet.

“I can’t remember the last time in my 20 years of coaching that I’ve had zero state qualifiers going into districts and then getting all that we did this year,” Anderson said. “It’s pretty cool.”

South Kitsap qualified in five individual races and one relay, led by freshmen Madison Rousell.

Rousell, a freshman, is seeded fifth in the 50-yard freestyle with a qualifying time of 25.15 seconds. She will also compete in the 100-yard free and be a part of the 200-yard medley relay with team mates Rachel Hubner, Erin Carpenter and Anna Hein.

Hubner qualified for the 100-yard butterfly and is seeded 14th, while Megan Finnie and Carpenter will go in the 500-yard free.

“We had our little speech before district and we told them this is your last chance,” Anderson said. “You’re either going to do it or you’re not.”

Anderson said the goal for the team was to get through the prelims and into Saturday’s finals. Rousell has set a personal goal of finishing top eight and lowering her times.

“I’ve just tried to keep a positive attitude,” Rousell said. “I haven’t thought about my race too much because if I think about it too much, then I tend do not do very well. I just want to set a time and go for it.”

Rousell wants to knock her 50 free time down to the low 24-second range, dropping a second of her state qualifying time.

Most of the South Kitsap swimmers share Rousell’s view.

“I haven’t really thought about the races at all, Hubner said. “I’m just thinking about how many girls are going and it’s the first year for all of us, so it’s just kind of exciting. I’m not really expecting anything. Just going to hope for the best and see how it comes out.

“Of course we all want to do well and we want to see each other do well,” Hubner said. “The more you focus on it, the more worried you yet and the more you psyche your self out and that’s not what we want.”

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