The Peninsula High School girls swimming and diving team returns a significant portion of last year’s swimmers, something head coach Craig Brown is looking forward to along with the strong bond the team already has formed.
Brown, going into this 33rd year as head coach, said this one of the most tight-knit groups he’s seen.
“We have a really cohesive group of girls,” he said. “They really get along well together. They’re a pleasure to coach. In fact, I was telling my assistant coach that the difference is night and day compared to some of the teams we’ve had in the past as to how well they work, listen and want to get better.”
The team welcomes a large freshman class, highlighted by club swimmers Athena Petterson and Constance Kirby. Key returners include sophomore Whitney Mundle, senior Malori Richards, and senior captains Madison Ryan and Haley Williams.
Ryan said the bond this year is unique.
“We have a lot of new freshmen coming and new upperclassmen,” she said. “The team is just really awesome this year. Everybody is so sweet. We do a lot of team bondings, everybody works really hard, and it just looks like it’s going to be a great season.”
Ryan specializes in the 100-meter backstroke, and she’s about a second away from the one-minute mark, something she’ll shoot for this year. She also has Class 3A state-meet aspirations.
“I would like to make it at top eight in state,” Ryan said.
As far as the team is concerned, Ryan hopes the Seahawks’ relay teams will have top performances at the district and state levels.
The team placed second in the South Puget Sound League last year, and the swimmers hope to reclaim the top spot.
“We definitely want to be league champions this year,” Williams said. “Last year we lost one of our meets, and that ruined our record. So if we win every single dual meet in league, then we will be able to be league champions, which we’ve done multiple years in a row. So we’re really hoping to get that back.”
That’s hardly an easy task, but Williams is confident the team can accomplish that goal.
“We have a lot of younger swimmers, and a couple of them I know from club, so they have a lot of past experience swimming,” Williams said. “All the girls just have really good attitudes and are excited to work their hardest this year.”
Brown said it will be a team effort.
“Everyone has to contribute, everybody plays a part in what we’re going to do here,” he said. “We have to be able to do well in our dual meets, and also in our league meet at the end of the year, to have girls place and get points, so we’ve got some obstacles to overcome.”
One hurdle will be a strong Auburn Mountainview program that beat the Seahawks by two points last year.
“I’m hoping with the core that we have, and the new girls, they can just come together and we’ll see what happens,” Brown said. “I always want to try to do better than the year before. Last year, we did lose in our dual meet against Auburn Mountainview. We’d like to see if we could beat them this year.
“We’re getting closer,” he said. “It’s a different team this year.”