Cat swimmers emerge during 2001

"The Oak Harbor boys swim team finished the regular season Tuesday with a loss to Kamiak, 98-72. The loss was like most of the team’s meets this year as the Wildcats took first in eight of the 11 races, but lack of depth cost the team the victory. Despite the team’s 2-8 regular season record — twice as many wins as they had last year — head coach Patrick Stewart says that the team has improved a lot. The biggest bright spots for the Cats are senior Brent Rivard and junior David Swoish, who both qualified to swim at state during last Thursday’s meet against Marysville-Pilchuck. According to Stewart, the qualification of Rivard and Swiosh has raised the teams spirits for the future of the program and especially for next season, when most of the team will be back.“I think this just shows that if you work really hard you can do it,” said Stewart. “They just kept trying and kept trying and they finally made it.” Rivard, who qualified in the 100 breaststroke, was expecting to be in the state meet this season. To his credit, his expectation of qualifying at the district tournament by earning a first or second place finish was made obsolete when he swam 1:03.73 against the Tomahawks.“It felt good during the race,” said Rivard. “It felt like I had it. When I finished and they told me my time I was ecstatic, jumping up and down.” Swoish qualified for state in the 50 freestyle against Marysville-Pilchuck with a time of 22.82. “Before the race I felt really good. I wasn’t thinking, ‘Hey I’m going to make state.’ But I felt better than I had at any other meet,” said Swoish. “Right when I touched the wall though I knew it was going to be state.”Although his coach had faith in Swoish, it was not as expected for him to make the state cut as it was for Rivard.“This is kind of my intro year,” said Swoish about competing at state. “Next year I’m hoping to beat some people at state. I am definitely looking forward to next year and providing some leadership for the young guys.” Another notable was the time of Wes Hunter in the 100 freestyle, who qualified for the district meet against the Tommies. With a win at districts Hunter could become the third Oak Harbor swimmer to make the cut for the state meet — a far cry from last season when the team had no participants at state. Oak Harbor sophomore Tom Ray will also join his teammate Swiosh in the 50 freestyle as he qualified for districts Tuesday.“We have about eight guys who have qualified for districts,” said Stewart. “That’s about half of our team, so that’s a pretty good improvement from last year.” Stewart is hopeful that the team will finish higher at the district meet than during the regular season because depth is not as big of an issue.The swimmers themselves believe Stewart has helped put them in a position to succeed.“Our coach has really helped out this year and provided a lot of support. He’s been working us at practice a lot to keep us on track,” Rivard said. Stewart hopes the improvements that his team made during the current season will result in more participants in the seasons to come. Kamiak 98, Oak Harbor 72 200 medley relay: Kamiak (Cummings, Lau, Batchlor, Wall) 2:05.36; 200 freestyle: Hunter (OH) 2:13.60; 200 individual medley: Rivard (OH) 2:30.53; 50 freestyle: Swoish (OH) 26:09; 100 butterfly: Swoish (OH) 1:04.89; 100 freestyle: Cummings (K) 1:02.73; 500 freestyle: Hunter (OH) 6:07.48; 200 freestyle relay: Kamiak (Cummings, Daniels, Batchlor, Lau) 1:51.73; 100 backstroke: Wiley (OH) 1:15.69; 100 breaststroke: Rivard (OH) 1:12.13; 400 freestyle relay: Oak Harbor (Swoish, Wiley, Hunter, Rivard) 4:08.17. Records: Kamiak 9-1 league, 10-1 overall. Oak Harbor: 2-8, 2-8. "

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