The senior members of the Oak Harbor High School swim and dive team pose after their final home meet. From the left are Scout Powell, Bailie Carroll, Jillian Pape, Naomi Garcia, Taliah Black, Olivia Tungate, Lavinia Liatti, Lydia Dorsey and Baelee Whitinger. (Photo by John Fisken)

Seniors lead Oak Harbor in home finale / Swim and dive

Sending its seniors out on a happy note, the Oak Harbor High School swim and dive team defeated visiting Monroe 120-64 in the final home meet of the season Monday, Oct. 9.

The Wildcats (4-3) wrap up the regular season at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, against Everett (2-5) at the Forest Park Pool.

Seven of the nine Wildcat seniors contributed points toward the win over Monroe, lead by two individual wins from Jillian Pape (50-meter freestyle, 28.96; 100 butterfly, 1:10.95) and Olivia Tungate (100 free, 1:02.74; 100 backstroke, 1:11.99).

Senior Taliah Black took the 200 individual medley (2:47.44), while freshman Ashleigh Merrill won a pair of events (200 free, 2:22.93; 400 free, 4:59.48).

Those four events winners also joined forces to win the 200 medley relay in a state qualifying time (2:09.33) and the 200 free relay (2:00.59).

Seniors Scout Powell and Naomi Garcia teamed up with sophomore Grace Chargualaf and freshman Caitlin Dennen to win the 400 free relay (4:52.19).

“We had a week and a half off since our last meet, but we looked strong,” coach Amy Merkley said.

She also expressed concern about the upcoming North Whidbey Park and Recreation District levy: “I am kind of nervous. I would hate to see this program (the high school swim team) go by the wayside. Once you lose it, it is hard to get back.”

Other seniors competing in their last home meet were Bailee Carroll, Lydia Dorsey, Lavinia Liatti and Baelee Whitinger.

The seniors are “a great group, full of energy and fun,” according to Merkley.

She also noted their “toughness,” which rubbed off on the new swimmers.

“They were a great influence.”

Other Oak Harbor results

Second: Garcia, 50 free, 31.51; 100 free, 1:09.25; Kelly Gruenwald, diving, 170.7; Chargualaf, 100 fly, 1:18.74; Black, 100 breaststroke, 1:24.28.

Third: Chargualaf, 200 free, 2:45.87; Dennen, 200 IM, 3:02.15; Frances Empinado, 100 free, 1:16.35; Whitinger, 400 free, 6:07.03; Powell, 100 back, 1:22.98; 200 medley relay (Powell, Dennen, Chargualaf, Garcia), 2:27.29; 200 free relay (Empinado, Noelle Ruiz, Liatti, Whitinger), 2:21.66; 400 free relay (Empinado, Liatti, Whitinger, Ruiz), 5:26.95.

Fourth: Ruiz, 50 free, 34.86; Liatti, 400 free, 6:12.03; Empinado, 100 back, 1:24.84; Dennen, 100 breast, 1:35.71.

Fifth: Powell, 200 IM, 2:45.87; Ruiz, 100 breast, 1:41.98; 200 medley relay (Carroll, Liatti, Gabby Harstad, Dorsey), 2:55.43; 400 free relay (Carroll, Izzy Sanchez, Sophie Sandahl, Mekayla VonGrey), 5:46.21.

Senior Olivia Tungate won two individual events Monday, including the 100-meter backstroke. (Photo by John Fisken)

Senior Taliah Black swims to second place in the 100 breaststroke. (Photo by John Fisken)

Senior Jillian Pape takes first in the 50-meter freestyle. (Photo by John Fisken)

Caitlin Dennen takes off in the 400 freestyle relay. (Photo by John Fisken)

Senior Scout Powell glides to third place in the 100-meter backstroke. (Photo by John Fisken)

Noelle Ruiz picks up a team point by placing fifth in the 100-meter breaststroke. (Photo by John Fisken)

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