Aaron Martinez swims his way to first place in the 100-meter freestyle.	(Photo by John Fisken)

Aaron Martinez swims his way to first place in the 100-meter freestyle. (Photo by John Fisken)

Come on in, the water is (finally) fine / Swim and dive

Oak Harbor High School swim coach Amy Merkley’s plans for getting her team up to speed were put on ice — or more precisely, in ice water.

The vast majority of Merkley’s team members this winter are new to the sport, so she pushed all but one early meet to later in the season to give her rookies time to learn the techniques of competitive swimming.

That extra pool time vanished when the boiler that heats the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool broke just as the Wildcats began practice in mid-November. Merkley kept her athletes out of the water as much as possible to avoid the uncomfortable conditions.

“I had a grand vision to get the team ready,” Merkley said, “then the heater broke.”

“The kids’ attitudes are really good, really positive,” she added. “They are a great group. They want to learn, to do new things. They are very coachable.”

The swimmers handled the cold water well for the first week and a half, “then it became a drag,” according to Merkley.

“We didn’t lose anybody because of the cold water, just pool time,” she added.

Merkley had her team do more dry-land work to keep them out of the water.

“We would warm up, jump in for sprints and jump out to warm up again,” she said.

Dive coach River Powers provided her athletes with blankets to keep them warm between practice dives, but even that didn’t stop teeth from chattering.

The boiler was repaired just in time for Oak Harbor’s first home meet Wednesday, Jan. 3. Monroe (1-3-1) defeated the inexperienced Wildcats 100-83.

After competing only once in the first seven weeks, Oak Harbor is beginning a stretch of three meets in four school days.

Thursday, Jan. 4, the Wildcats (0-4) join Everett (1-4) in Lake Stevens (3-0) for a 3:15 p.m. double-dual meet. At 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8, Oak Harbor hosts its only other home meet of the season when Mount Vernon (1-1-1) visits.

Monroe 100, Oak Harbor 83

The Bearcats captured 10 of the 12 events on the way to the win Wednesday.

Aaron Martinez took part in both Oak Harbor firsts, winning the 100-meter freestyle (1:08.48) and 200 free relay (2:02.33) with Micah Franklin, Rylan Quiros and Lawrence Zapanta.

Other Oak Harbor results

Second: Martinez, 200 free, 2:45.53; Zapanta, 200 individual medley, 2:56.38; Franklin, 100 butterfly, 1:14.59; 100 backstroke, 1:21.5; Garrett Karney, 400 free, 6:07.76; Quiros, 100 breaststroke, 1:33.82; 200 medley relay (Franklin, Quiros, Zapanta, Karney), 2:16.92; 400 free relay (Karney, Pablo Closson, Kyto Morrow, Martinez), 5:06.76.

Third: Quiros, 50 free, 29.04; Morrow, diving, 101.3; Zapanta, 100 fly, 1:30.84; Matt Kolden, 100 back, 1:23.72; John Francisco, 100 breast, 1:48.84; 200 medley relay (Kolden, Morrow, Closson, Francisco), 2:36.97; 200 free relay (Yuji Caballero, Francisco, Clifford Hartley, Claude Thrailkill), 2:25.21.

Fourth: Caballero, 200 free, 3:35.19; Karney, 200 IM, 3:10.69; Hartley, 50 free, 31; Dallas Riddle-Stevens, diving, 93.65; Francisco, 100 free, 1:26.44; Closson, 400 free, 6:44.21; 400 free relay (Hartley, Thrailkill, Caballero, Kolden), 5:59.28.

Fifth: Andrew Lof, 200 free, 3:45.49; 400 free, 8:12.35; Closson, 200 IM, 3:36.07; Thrailkill, diving, .82; Kyle Torres, 100 back, 2:11.38; Riley Williamson, 100 breast, 1:59.16; 200 free relay (Samuel Noel, Riddle-Stevens, Williamson, Ethan Wilson), 2:31.8; 400 free relay (Lof, Hunter Tuzzolo, Torres, Noel), 6:50.83.

Garrett Karney competes for the Wildcats in Wednesday’s meet. (Photo by John Fisken)

Garrett Karney competes for the Wildcats in Wednesday’s meet. (Photo by John Fisken)

More in Sports

Mells steps down after 21 years of holding court / Tennis

Thanks to a Oswald Baldwin, Horace Mells got hooked on tennis. Mells,… Continue reading

Fast track: Smith, Hardin sprint their way to success

They have a need for speed. Coupeville senior Jacob Smith is the… Continue reading

Coupeville claims district title, qualifies 16 for state / Track

The Coupeville High School boys track team won its first district title… Continue reading

Oak Harbor to send 10 to state meet / Track

Three individuals and two relay teams will represent Oak Harbor at the… Continue reading

Upset leads to unhappy ending for Wolves / Softball

It seems almost unfair. The Coupeville High School softball team lost to… Continue reading

Whidbey Golf Club hosts charity tournament

The Whidbey Golf Club and sponsor SaviBank will hold its inaugural charity… Continue reading

Photos of recent sports action

I was on vacation recently; I can put stories online while away… Continue reading

Coupeville shows off skills / Middle school track

Photographer John Fisken took some photos of the Coupeville Middle School track… Continue reading

Coupeville duo qualifies for state / Tennis

This year, second place was good enough. Coupeville High School seniors Payton… Continue reading

Most Read