State splash: Wildcat swimmers ready

"They talk about finishing in the top five, but the Oak Harbor girls swim team doesn’t do a very good job of hiding their true goal. “Snohomish is going down!” junior Chauntelle Johnson yelled in the lobby of Vanderzicht Memorial Pool this week."

  • Friday, November 12, 1999 12:00pm
  • Sports

“They talk about finishing in the top five, but the Oak Harbor girls swim team doesn’t do a very good job of hiding their true goal.“Snohomish is going down!” junior Chauntelle Johnson yelled in the lobby of Vanderzicht Memorial Pool this week.Snohomish is the defending state champ, the WesCo title holder and primary road block to Oak Harbor’s own claim to glory. And while the Wildcat swimmers lost to Snohomish during the regular season and at Districts, they don’t believe the obstacle is insurmountable.“We have a chance to beat Snohomish,” said Oak Harbor coach Patrick Stewart. “It’s going to come down to who has the best races.”Whether they win it all or not, the Wildcats are poised for their best finish ever at this weekend’s 4A State Swim Meet at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.Oak Harbor finished 18th out of 45 teams a year ago. Johnson powered the Wildcats by finishing near the top in the 50 and 100 freestyles. This year, Oak Harbor will bring an even more potent team.For one, the state meet promises to be something of a coming-out party for Kyla Meuer, Oak Harbor’s talented freshman. Meuer has the top time in the state in the 100 freestyle this season, and the second-fastest time in the 50 freestyle. She’ll swim in those events and the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay.Then there’s Johnson, who was third in the state in the 50 freestyle a year ago and fourth in the 100 freestyle. She’ll swim in those events and on the 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay teams.Sophomore Brandy Rupert is back for her second trip to state, and will swim in the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, and on two relay teams: the 200 medley and 400 freestyle.Senior Cassie Fireman is also back, this time to swim on the 200 freestyle relay team.Juniors Amanda Birr and Shelley Cook are also scheduled to compete — Birr in the 100 breastroke and the 200 medley relay, and Cook in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.Laura Hall, who missed the state meet a year ago with an injury, should also contribute to the Oak Harbor team score. Hall missed several meets this year and hasn’t been posting her best times, but she should be in the thick of the race in a number of events: the 100 freestyle, 100 breastroke, the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay.Johnson said she’s looking forward to the challenge.“The atmosphere is big time,” she said. “I’m excited to show what we can do.”And what exactly is that?“A top five finish would be nice. We’re completely capable of that,” Johnson said.Of course, beating Snohomish would be nicest of all.“I think we can give them a run,” Meuer said. “Our relays have a real shot.”In lane one …The 4A State Swim Meet at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way got started Friday. The finals are scheduled for today (Saturday) from 5 to 8 p.m. Here are the events that Oak Harbor swimmers will compete in:200 medley relay: Kyla Meuer, Amanda Birr, Laura Hall and Brandy Rupert.200 freestyle: Rupert50 freestyle: Meuer, Chauntelle Johnson100 freestyle: Meuer, Johnson, Hall500 freestyle: Rupert200 freestyle relay: Johnson, Shelley Cook, Cassie Fireman, Hall100 breastroke: Hall, Amanda Birr400 freestyle relay: Meuer, Johnson, Rupert, Cook”

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Oak Harbor girls softball team members are allowed to workout together under current COVID-19 restrictions, but are not yet allowed to return to formal practices and competition. School sports may resume this month if Island County and others in the North region can move into Phase 2. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
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