Winter prep preview | Oak Harbor swimming

The Oak Harbor High School swim team finished with a 9-1 record in 2012-13, and coach Alex Thierry doesn’t see why the Wildcats can’t meet that mark again this winter.

Behind three returning state qualifiers and excellent depth with a 40-man team, the Wildcats should continue as one of the Western Conference’s top 3A teams.

Caley Powers, a veteran of two state meets, leads a list of 10 returning lettermen. Others include Cedric Cabigting and Toren Wood, relay members who qualified for state last season, and Joe Gorman, Erik Jensen, Clayton Livermore, Jake Nelson, Raymond Paraiso and Derek Volk.

Powers was first-team all-Wesco three relays; Wood earned first-team honors with the medley relay team; and Gorman was first team in the 500 freestyle.

Key newcomers, according to Thierry, are Dakota Powers, a state qualifier in 2012 who rejoins the team after taking last winter off, and Micha Geist.

Caley Powers swam the 100 butterfly at the state championships last year and joined Cabigting on the seventh-place 200 medley relay team.

“Our team’s strength right now is numbers,” Thierry said.  “We have some additional space in practice so I am trying to keep as many as I can by rearranging how some of the practices will function after the Thanksgiving break.”

Thierry said he is trying to fill spots left by graduates, but doesn’t “see it being a problem because these guys want to work hard and push each other.”

“It will be a successful season if our guys keep pushing each other at practice while building a good bonding connection,” he added.

To be the best in the North, Thierry said, his club will need to “go out and beat Lake Stevens.”

He added, “It would be great to put up more points against Kamiak.”

“We really just need to stay healthy and injury free for the entirety of the season,” Thierry said. “I am anxious to see who steps up. Even in this first week of practice, these guys are working really hard.”

Oak Harbor begins the season at 6 p.m. at home Wednesday, Dec. 11, with Snohomish and Glacier Peak.

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