Four swimmers from South Whidbey will be representing the region at the upcoming state swim meet Nov. 12 and 13 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
For the first time in Falcon history, a member of the swim team is advancing to state based on time. Junior Parker Forsyth qualified for two events by meeting state time requirements in the 200-yard individual medley (2:21.99) and the 100 breaststroke (1:13.45) at the district meet this past Saturday in Anacortes.
Junior Abigail Ireland also qualified for state in the 200 freestyle (2:20.69). She received a wildcard invitation, which go to the non-automatic qualifiers from across the state with the next best times to fill out the state field.
Forsyth, Ireland, junior Devin King and sophomore Zetta Prendergast unexpectedly qualified in the team’s 200 free-relay (2:04.26) after also receiving a wildcard invitation.
“We had no idea our relay had a chance at state,” Forsyth said.
The team placed sixth overall at the district meet out of nine teams.
Since South Whidbey does not have an official team — or a swimming pool — the four swimmers have been traveling across the water six days out of the week to practice alongside the Kamiak High School team.
Some early-morning practices have prompted the South Whidbey teens, a close-knit group whose members often share the same car, to catch the 4:40 a.m. ferry to the mainland.
Teresa, Forsyth’s mother, said that swimming competitively would not be possible for the South Whidbey team members without the guidance of Kamiak Coach Chris Erickson. This is the sixth year that South Whidbey has been represented by a swim team.
Most of the swimmers grew up swimming for Kristi Eager and Travis Kulcsar’s South Whidbey Stingrays Swim Club and have several fond memories together.
Swimming competitively at the high school level has not been without its challenges. Because of COVID-19, the Falcons had a shortened season in the spring that consisted of practices but no meets or competitions.
Things seem to be floating into place now.
“I think my biggest achievement from this season was getting sixth place at our district meet in the 200 freestyle,” Ireland said.
“My biggest accomplishment was dropping 23 seconds on my 500 freestyle,” Prendergast said.
She added that adjusting to such a rigorous practice schedule is “exhausting, but it’s very, very worth it.”