Already having one of the best season’s in team history, the Oak Harbor boys swimming team placed fourth out of eight teams at the 4A Northwest District north sectional last weekend. The Cats, who went 7-2 during the regular season, will send five swimmers competing in two relays and in five individual events to the 4A state meet this weekend at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
“Everyone swam well when it came down to crunch time,” said senior captain David Swoish about last weekend’s district meet. “Everyone showed up.”
Leading the charge for the Cats was the 200 freestyle relay team which earned the district title with a first-place finish. The quartet of David Swoish, Kyle Ciminski, Paul Swoish, and Jason Hunter edged Snohomish by just over half a second, finishing the race with a time of 1:32.29.
“We had really, really good splits,” said head coach Carla Edge about the race. “We were pretty far ahead and then they caught up at the end.”
The 200 medley relay team also qualified for the state tourney with a second-place finish behind Lake Stevens. Colby Wiley, Ciminski, David Swoish, and Hunter finished less than a second behind the Vikings squad with a time of 1:44.37.
Individually three Wildcats qualified for the state meet. David Swoish qualified in the 50 freestyle, finishing second behind Lake Stevens’ Max Hinricksen with a time of 22.52, and the 100 freestyle where he placed second behind Hinricksen again with a time of 49.32.
“I’m proud of how he swam,” said Edge about Swoish’s effort. “The past few days have been great to watch.”
Swoish went to the state meet last year, but didn’t perform up to his expectations because of a knee injury. He is looking to improve on this his second and final go-around.
“Last year was kind of a downer because I was hurt,” he said. “This year I am kind of looking to do what I didn’t do last year or even better.”
Ciminski, a sophomore, also qualified in two individual events. He finished third in 50 freestyle just behind teammate David Swoish with a time of 22.53, and he took fourth in the 100 butterfly with a state qualifying time of 56.28. According to Edge, Ciminski was sick last week and almost didn’t compete in the butterfly.
“Kyle wasn’t feeling well and he wanted to scratch, but his dad talked to him and he ended up getting his best time ever and making state.”
Ciminski believes that his friendly rivalry with Swoish helps him in the 50 free.
“I wish I could have done a little better last week but that is what state is for,” he said. “I’m going to be concentrating on the 50 free. I know David and I are really going to push each other.”
Colby Wiley, who goes to Coupeville but competes with the Wildcats, was the squad’s third individual qualifier, taking third in the 100 butterfly with a time of 56.18.
“Going in I wasn’t sure if I could do the state cut in the 100 fly, but I did it,” said the junior about securing his state qualifying time for the first time on Saturday. “Federal Way is a great pool to swim in and there is going to be some great competition.”
The squad will also bring four alternates, Josh Walkuw, Josh Luttrell, Aaron Ridle, and Andrew Bressler, to the meet in case of any injuries or illness. Edge wants to give as many team members possible the experience of going to Federal Way.
The team is proud of what they have accomplished this season but they know that there is still some unfinished business to take care of this weekend. Last year the Cats placed 34th and they are looking to improve on that finish.
“State is going to be great because we’ll have a lot of competition,” said Ciminski. “I’m hyped that we are taking all these people to the meet. This is the best Oak Harbor has ever done.”
The meet gets underway with preliminaries on Friday and will conclude with the finals on Saturday.