Sports

Talented Wildcats hit the pool

Three of the top Wildcat swimmers, left to right, Karina Concepcion, Laura Rosen and Rachel Weinstein, receive instructions before continuing their workouts. - Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times
Three of the top Wildcat swimmers, left to right, Karina Concepcion, Laura Rosen and Rachel Weinstein, receive instructions before continuing their workouts.
— image credit: Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times

In her fourth season as Oak Harbor High School swim coach, it appears Erika Miller will be putting a super-strong team in the pool for the 2009 season.

The Wildcats have a host of swimmers returning and graduated just three seniors off last year’s squad that finished the season with an 8-3 record.

Senior standouts Madi Shipley, Lily Doyle and McKenna Yockey lead the team, but the real strength lies in some of the younger swimmers.

Juniors Rachel Weinstein, Tori Nickerson and Abby Rankin are beginning their third year on the varsity, and are joined by sophomore Ciara Hu, who went to the state meet last year, and sophomore Karina Concepcion.

“We have a lot of good, young swimmers on the team,” Miller said.

Weinstein is a versatile athlete who swims the breaststroke and freestyle in both individual and relay events, while Nickerson and Rankin are primarily freestyle swimmers.

Last season, Rankin was also Oak Harbor’s diver.

Hu swims the butterfly and Concepcion swims in the freestyle sprint races and on the relay teams.

Shipley and Doyle are distance freestylers and members of the 400 freestyle relay team.

Freshman Laura Rosen is a big addition to the team and is nationally ranked in several events within her age group. She has come up through the ranks of the North Whidbey Aquatic Club and is a perennial winner at Aquajets meets and holds numerous NWAC records.

Another freshman who honed her skills with the NWAC is Therese Desquitado, described by Miller as another good swimmer.

Miller said she expects that Cassie Stanford, a junior who transfered into the district from Nebraska, is also going to do a good job, as will senior Janika Bianco.

“I’ve known Janika for a long time,” Miller said. “She was here when she was in the seventh grade and now she has moved back.”

The Wildcats open the season Tuesday, Sept. 8, swimming in the 4A North Division Jamboree at Marysville-Pilchuck, and host Burlington-Edison at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10.

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