Caitlin Dennen is one of the returning letter winners for the Oak Harbor swim and dive team. (Photo by John Fisken)

Caitlin Dennen is one of the returning letter winners for the Oak Harbor swim and dive team. (Photo by John Fisken)

Prep preview / Oak Harbor swim and dive

The Oak Harbor High School swim and dive team is looking for a home.

With John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool shuttered because of a lack of funds, the Wildcats have been practicing at the Admiral’s Cove outdoor pool.

The facility does not have a diving board.

The school district and parks board are attempting to reopen the Oak Harbor pool for the high school season, according to coach Amy Merkley.

“It’s just not that easy, but they are working on it,” she said.

Merkley praised the effort of athletic director Jerrod Fleury in trying to keep the Wildcats’ season alive.

“He communicates regularly and is being a strong advocate for the program,” she said. “I want to acknowledge how much time and energy he is dedicating to our swim and dive program.”

Returning letter winners for Oak Harbor are Kelly Gruenwald, Sophie Sandahl, Diandra Dominguez, Gabriella Harstad, Caitlin Dennen, Grace Chargualaf and Frances Empinado.

“Key newcomers are freshmen Lecya Santiago, who will be a strong swimmer for us, and Kaia Crebbin, who is a gymnast who will try out for diving,” Merkley said.

The primary goal for the season, according to Merkley, is to overcome the lack of pool.

“Right now we are making plans one week at a time and have yet to get our divers on a diving board,” she said. “Beyond that, we would like to get new swimmers and divers out and build up our team. We have a strong swimming tradition that we want to keep going in Oak Harbor.”

The strength of the team, Merkley said, is the returning swimmers’ postseason experience; the weakness is lack of depth with the small squad size and the fact that all the meets, as of now, will be on the road.

Oak Harbor begins the season in Marysville with a match against Marysville Getchell and Marysville-Pilchuck at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11.

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