Oak Harbor High School swim coach Alex Thierry, leading the girls for the first time after coaching the boys last winter, expects his team to be competitive this year, but more important than the wins, he would like the girls to enjoy their experience.
“I really just want the girls to have fun,” Thierry said. “We will be pretty competitive and hardworking, but the girls really need to enjoy that time. It is too early for me to make predictions on the season, but I know if the girls put forth their best effort, we should have a successful season.”
The Wildcats lost a handful of talented swimmers from last year’s 11-3 team which placed second in district and 12th at state.
Thierry said, “We have a few strong swimmers who are not returning, so we will see some new swimmers step up. Every meet this year should be interesting as I have a feeling all of our meets might be a little closer than last year. That is what makes things exciting, though.”
Thierry likes the effort of his team: “The strength of this team that I have seen so far is that they do not have a problem pushing each other to work harder.”
He added, “I really think the only weakness of this team comes from the limited water time that we get for practice. I hope that the girls want to swim more and take advantage of other opportunities to get more pool time.”
Thierry hopes to get the diving program restarted: “My goal is to have at least two by the end of the season. That is a big goal with only three hours a week for diving practice.”
Oak Harbor returns 14 letter winners: Irysh Concepcion, Marissa Morris, Kennedy Trisler, Tricia Desquitado, Mollie Briddell, Danae Nash, Sarah Baxter, Mariel Empinado, Sophie Dickinson, Elise Still, Leah Lukban, Allison Hoffmire, Ella Brooks and Zena Husler.
Sophomore Morris earned first-team, all-conference honors in the 200 and 500 freestyle in 2012, and joined junior Briddell on the first-team 400 free relay. Morris placed 15th in the 500 and 16th in the 200 at the state meet.
The teams to beat this fall are Kamiak and Cascade, according to Thierry.
The Wildcats start the season with two road meets, beginning at 3:15 p.m. at Lake Stevens Tuesday, Sept. 17. Stanwood comes to Oak Harbor at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23.
The highlight of the nonleague schedule is a visit by four-time state champion Mercer Island, coached by Oak Harbor graduate Chauntelle Johnson, Saturday, Sept. 28.