Sports

SK returns with deep, talented team in ’09

SCHEDULE

Date Opponent

Thursday At Mount Tahoma

Sept. 17 Shelton

Sept. 22 At Central Kitsap

Sept. 24 Lincoln

Sept. 26 South Kitsap Invitational

Sept. 29 At Olympia

Oct. 1 At Gig Harbor

Oct. 6 At Wilson

Oct. 8 Stadium

Oct. 15 Foss

• All meets begin at 3:30 p.m., except the South Kitsap Invitational (8 a.m.)

Coach: Dennis Anderson, 24th season.

Key returners: Danika Barringer, 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay, sr.; Ashlee Becker, 100 breaststroke and 400 freestyle relay, jr.; Kelsey Bagley, 100 backstroke and 200 medley relay, jr.; Nicole Hinely, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay, soph.; Angela Pearson, 500 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay, jr.; Carissa Rill, 400 freestyle relay, jr.; Cierra Sharp, 200 individual medley and 200 medley relay, jr.; Johanna Steinbrink, 200 freestyle relay, jr.; Hannah Straavaldson, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley, jr.; Rachel Wester, 50 and 100 freestyle and 200 and 400 freestyle relay, sr.

Key departures: Amanda Bryan, diver, graduated; Marionette Lundberg, diver, graduated.

Top newcomers: Serena Carasa, diver, fr.; Jessica Carter, fr.; Hannah Luer, soph.; Jessica Peterson, fr.; Paige Piersall, fr.; Svea Van Parys, 50 and 100 freestyle, fr.

Something is in the air at South Kitsap’s pool — and it isn’t chlorine.

It’s determination.

“It seems like I’ve got everyone back,” says coach Dennis Anderson, who is starting his 24th year with the Wolves. “All of my district and state qualifiers are back and a year older.”

Forty-six swimmers have turned out so far, but he expects have at least 50 in the pool.

“I never have a problem with them working hard,” he said. “They always have a great attitude. It’s fun coaching these kids.”

Anderson says the team has more depth this year, and the names roll off his tongue.

“I’ve got some sprint freestyle help with Rachel Wester coming back, and Johanna Steinbrink,” he said. “I’ve got with distance swimmer coming back with Angela Pearson, and Ashlee Becker is my flier and breaststroker.”

He predicts junior Hannah Straavaldson will be the team’s “surprise swimmer,” after putting in a great summer. She will be swimming backstroke and freestyle. Kelsey Bagley, last year’s “big surprise,” as a sophomore, is expected to keep progressing at backstroke.

Pearson, a junior, and Nicole Hinley, a sophomore, are the only Wolves to have made it to the big show in Federal Way last year. Pearson finished 20th in the 500-yard freestyle, and Hinley won the consolation final to finish ninth in the 100 butterfly.

“I think that was ninth-grade growing pains,” Anderson said of Hinley’s state debut. “You learn to bring it in the prelims and you only learn that through experience. I think she grew up five years in one race.”

And he’s looking to both to build on the opportunity.

“We just look like we’ll be a little better at the top end,” he said. “It will be fun to see where they end up.”

Pearson is hoping she will end up atop the podium.

“I would like to make the state cut earlier this year,” she said. “I don’t want to psyche myself out. I just need to be more confident with myself and I’ve been working on that during the summer with my club team.”

And Hinley isn’t settling for last year’s finish, either. She has dropped the 200 individual medley to concentrate on the butterfly and 200 freestyle.

“My expectations are raised now that I have experience,” she said. “I think our team is going to be a lot better this year.”

Anderson said the Wolves could benefit from several incoming freshmen with experience, even though their events have yet to be determined.

“They’re all pretty strong in the freestyle,” he said. “I think Jessica Carter will be doing some freestyle.”

As for the divers, “they look like they have some talent. We might have something going on in the diving this year, which is exciting.”

Their depth as a whole has Anderson feeling confident about some of his team’s bigger foes.

He feels like they could “give Wilson a run,” and “might be able to battle” Stadium, and only takes pause when Gig Harbor comes up. The Tides won last year’s meet 135-51 and Anderson can’t think of a time that South has beat Gig Harbor.

“I coached all the Gig Harbor kids with my club team,” he said, speaking of the Tacoma Swim Club. “They’ve got a lot of swimmers. They’re going to be strong. It’s a blessing and a curse.”

But it didn’t take a lot words for Pearson to sum up the Wolves’ goal.

“To beat Gig Harbor.”

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