The Gig Harbor High School girls swimming team has a track record of success, and the Tides hope to continue that this year.
The Tides the Narrows League, placed second in the West Central District meet and finished 11th at the Class 4A state meet last year.
“We really work on developing the incoming talent,” head coach Mike Kelly said. “Not everybody is a year-round swimmer. That being said, there is a constant influx of new club swimmers, and that’s no different this year. We really work to develop kids who have a good, natural swimming ability through stroke correction and workouts to bring them up to speed.”
One will be freshman Ursula Andren, who is already turning heads. Andren, born in Hawaii, said she isn’t letting hype become a distraction.
“I am just kind of going with the flow,” she said. “I’m just kind of ignoring it. Of course, I want to work my hardest and break some records and be really fast at state, but besides that, if people ask me about my swimming, I say something, but if not, I don’t really say much about it.”
Andren hopes to make an immediate impact. Her older sister goes to college in Oahu, so Andren takes advantage of the water when she visits.
“When I’m in Hawaii, I go surfing,” Andren said. “Here, I go wake-surfing and waterskiing.”
Andren got involved with competitive swimming when she was young.
“The sport is a huge part of my life,” she said. “I’ve been swimming for about eight years, and I can never get enough of any type of water.”
Andren said she wants to get stronger and beat 1 minute, 5 seconds in the 100-yard breaststroke.
“I want to build a bond with all these girls,” she said. “I’m super excited about that.”
The team’s cohesiveness starts at the top, and senior Carolyn McCann is up to the challenge. McCann won the state title in 100 breaststroke last year, and she wants to repeat this fall.
She’s also eyeing the state record of 1:02.0 — and she’s close: Her best high-school time in the event is about one second away.
“I would hope that we would eye down winning districts, since we were second last year,” McCann said. “Also, I could definitely see us doing better at state. We lost a lot of seniors last year, but we have some incoming freshmen that are pretty good, and I think a lot of people have a good chance of making state in individuals and also in the relays.”
Among the team’s losses were league champion Sarah Campbell, Kiera McMenimen, Amanda Smokoff and diver Ashley Nguyen.
However, The Tides bring back McCann, Emma Campbell, Sarah Anderson and Kailee Drugge. McCann has taken recruiting visits to Michigan and Purdue, and she has visits set up to USC and Cal-Berkeley.