Inglemoor girls’ swim team sets the bar high
October 4, 2012 · Updated 3:41 PM
The Inglemoor High girls’ swim team’s second-year head coach, Perry Dolan, has coached some “outstanding,” internationally-recognized teams in his coaching career, which spans more than 50 years.
But he says no team has matched the cohesiveness and chemistry that the Vikings display this year, as the squad looks to better its sixth-place finish from the 4A state meet last year.
“This team is a band of sisters,” lauded Dolan. “They are closer together than any group I’ve ever worked with before, they care about each other, they fight the good fight for each other, and they’re a team. Their cheers, and everything they do show that.”
The Vikings’ 2012 team has a good balance of youth and experience, as 11 of the team’s 38 athletes are incoming freshmen, but the squad also returns a few former state participants.
Foremost on that list is team co-captain Sage Speak, who won the 100-yard breaststroke event last November in a personal and school-record time of 1 minute, 4.31 seconds.
“Our team is looking pretty good this year,” said Speak, adding that she has heard that a talented swimmer from Garfield may challenge her for the breaststroke title this year. “There’s always that pressure to do good, and do well for your school. ... I’m ready to win.”
After seeing the work that she put in during the offseason to keep her form in top shape, Dolan agrees.
“She’s looking quite strong and has a great chance to defend her title,” he noted.
Kayla Roberson, who earned the bronze medal in the breaststroke finals in addition to a sixth-place finish in the 200 freestyle, and Kristy Chiang, who contributed to the Vikings’ relay success in 2010 are also returning.
Jamie Marks, the team’s other co-captain, is improving her times in the freestyle events, and Chloe Carr, Calista Skog, Emily Chapple and Mollie Hansen will also be impact swimmers for the Vikings.
BUILDING A 3-D IMAGE
Coach Dolan, a onetime All-American swimmer who recently celebrated his 73rd birthday, said that his focus with this year’s group will be to build the “three Ds” of dedication, determination and desire – of which the Vikings already have plenty of.
He is also proud of his team’s high academic standards and sportsmanship.
“They are fabulous girls that think not only of their team, but the other teams they’re competing with as well,” he said, just moments before a chorus of Vikings answered his command with a cheerful “Sir, yes sir!”
The dedication part of the program is evident by the girls’ early wake-up call, as the team’s practice time slot is at 5:10 a.m. at Juanita High School in Kirkland. With the rest of the Viking student body sound asleep, the girls get in the pool four days a week and do laps, strengthening their endurance for the long season ahead.
“Usually around third or fourth period, you kinda ‘crash,’” Marks admitted. “It takes a little getting used to, but after a couple weeks it’s pretty normal.”
Added Speak, who has a second practice after school with her club team, WAVE Aquatics, “I get home and I don’t want to do (my homework), but you just have to power through it. It makes you stronger.”
When the Vikings return to the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way in November, they hope all that dedication, determination and desire will translate into lots of podium finishes, and maybe even a 4A state title.
“We will hopefully place top three in state, if not take it all,” said Marks. “We think we can do it.”