The 2012-13 Oak Harbor High School swim and dive team will ride the wake of eight returning lettermen in its defense of the Wesco North title.
The Wildcats, who were 9-0 in division and 12-3 overall last winter, also return four swimmers who competed in the state meet.
Senior Josh Jepsen, a three-year state qualifier and letterman, tops the list of returnees. He was first-team all-Wesco in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke and on the all-league 200 free and 200 medley relay teams.
Caley Powers and Kevin Levy joined Jepsen on those relay teams, and Powers also earned all-league honors in the 100 butterfly.
At state, Jepsen was 12th in the breaststroke and 13th in the IM, Powers was 23rd in the fly and Levy 27th in the 50 free. The trio teamed with Jepsen’s brother Jacob, who graduated last year, to place 12th in both relays.
Toren Wood competed at state on the 400 free relay team that placed 24th.
The other returning lettermen are Derek Volk, Cameron Radka, David Kusnick and Clayton Livermore.
Also returning to the team are Ryan Cuajunco and Cedric Cabigting who lettered in 2010-11.
Because of all the different programs at John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool, the Wildcats get limited minutes and lanes and are at a disadvantage against schools that have their own pool.
First-year coach Thierry said the limited time is a problem, “but as long as attendance is good at practice and the swimmers are working hard during the sets, I think we will be just fine.”
He added, “The key to getting a strong diving program going is to have a good coach and the pool time to get the divers trained. Our pool time lacks a little bit so we need to offset some of that with more dry-land workouts.”
The Wildcats begin the season at home with Monroe at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec 3.