Swimming: Divers standout in South Kitsap win

What a difference a dive makes.

While the Wolves’ divers did not solely determine Tuesday’s 108-75 Narrows League win against Olympia, they provided 13 unanswered points in the meet.

Perhaps that is why coach Tami Lester-Dame spoke about the unit first before discussing the swimmers. There are juniors Joe Rose, who qualified for state last year, and Kelvin Waterman and Preston Soete.

“Diving is really bringing us some points,” she said. “Our younger kids are really doing well.”

Lester-Dame said divers face a challenge because the league meet, districts and state require 11 dives, but dual meets only have six. Rose qualified for state with 336 points at an 11-dive meet last month at Curtis High School, but the coach said there is not another one of those competitions until Jan. 23.

“It’s a tough season for divers,” she said. “A 14-week season is really short to perfect 11 dives. That’s why you will see kids like Joe benefit from a club season. If you don’t have something extra, you’re not going to be up there at the top.”

Rose has that experience and actually competed with the junior-varsity team against Olympia, which limited him to three dives, to allow others to gain varsity experience. He said the transition to the 11-dive meet is not difficult for him.

“It’s not that bad because I do all 11 dives at practice,” he said. “Transitioning doesn’t take a lot of skill or effort to do.”

Without Rose competing on varsity, Waterman easily took first place against the Bears with 195.1 points. Waterman and Soete have not qualified for state yet, but Rose feels both can accomplish that objective.

“There’s a lot of potential,” he said.

Lester-Dame tried to limit many of her varsity swimmers to one individual event against Olympia. In addition to Thursday’s meet against Gig Harbor — one that Lester-Dame annually considers the biggest for her team, which is 6-0 in the Narrows — there are three meets next week.

“We had some league times which was exciting for the young, junior-varsity kids,” she said. “It’s a good place to be.”

Four South swimmers earned district times. Brandon Dravis won the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 13.63 seconds), while Taylor Rousell was first in the 100 butterfly (56.54). Another senior, Justin Slezak won the 100 breaststroke (1:07.71), and freshman Damien DeRego was first in the 500 freestyle (5:32.48).

“You can tell with the big guns that it’s halfway through the season,” Lester-Dame said. “They’re getting tired and wearing down a little.”

But she acknowledged that limiting her top swimmers to one individual event does not provide much rest.

After all, there’s the 200 medley relay (1:47.01), 200 freestyle relay (1:35.46) and 400 freestyle relay (3:42.32) teams, all of which placed first with district-qualifying times. The Wolves are closest to a state-qualifying time of 1:44.5 in the 200 medley relay.

“I really want to get the 200 medley relay and 200 free relay into state,” she said. “I'm hoping against a tougher team (Gig Harbor) — they push us over the edge.”

At South Kitsap 108, Olympia 75

Top placers

200 medley relay: 1, South Kitsap (Brandon Dravis, Justin Slezak, Damien DeRego, Taylor Rousell) 1:47.01. 200 freestyle: 1, Josh Nejedly (O) 2:17.2. 200 individual medley: 1, Dravis (SK) 2:13.63. 50 freestyle: 1, Kyle Parnell (O) 23.32. Diving: 1, Kelvin Waterman (SK) 195.1. 100 butterfly: 1, Rousell (SK) 56.54. 100 freestyle: 1, Parnell (O) 53.36. 500 freestyle: 1, DeRego (SK) 5:32.48. 200 freestyle: 1, South Kitsap (Dravis, Slezak, Rousell, DeRego) 1:36.46. 100 backstroke: 1, Westley Murry (O) 1:07.39. 100 breaststroke: 1, Slezak (SK) 1:07.71. 400 freestyle relay: 1, South Kitsap (DeRego, Dravis, Slezak, Rousell) 3:42.32.

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