Oak Harbor swim and dive | Fall prep preview

The Oak Harbor swim and dive team returns a handful of athletes who helped the Wildcats finish second in district and 11th in state last year.

Amy Merkley, who has coached the OHHS boys team the past two years, will guide the girls for the first time this fall. She will be joined by district champions Ciara Hu, Akasha Trisler and Karina Concepcion. All three competed at state along with Therese Desquitado and Irysh Concepcion.

Other returning letter winners are Tricia Desquitado, Angela Johnson, Danae Nash, Leanne Empinado and Rachelle Muzones.

Key newcomers, according to Merkley, are Nicole Vogt, Mollie Briddell, Sarah Baxter and Olivia Meyer.

At state last year, senior Hu, a veteran of three state meets, placed sixth in the 200 individual medley and seventh in the 100 butterfly.

Junior Trisler, a two-time state participant, was fifth in the 100 breaststroke and eighth in the 200 IM.

The pair, along with senior Karina Concepcion and then senior Tori Nickerson, finished seventh in the 200 medley relay and 10th in the 200 free relay.

Hu and Trisler are the 2011 team captains.

Merkley cited depth as the team’s strength, which should help the Wildcats fare well in conference meets and the district finals.

As far as the Wildcats’ weakness, Merkley said, “The 200 free: we have no one returning who made it to district in this event. We’ll need to quickly identify some swimmers who can train hard and fill in this weak spot in our lineup.”

She said, “The girls have been working hard and showing their dedication to reach their goals...I am new to coaching the girls team, but I definitely expect a top-three finish at district.”

Oak Harbor starts the season at home at John Vanderzicht Pool Monday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m. against Snohomish and Glacier Peak.

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