Photos by Ed Shepherd
Normandy Park swimmers - Addison Bowker, Faith Felner, Abby Bork, Sarah Jenner, Grace Felner, and, swim friend, Dominique Pangellinan.

Normandy Park splashes past Seahurst

By Ed Shepherd

Swimmers ahoy!

Normandy Park Swim Club swimmers flung and flinged themselves into the water and, all-in-all, jumped in following their 399-339 dual meet victory over Gregory Seahurst in Seattle Summer Swim League action at the Normandy Park Pool Tuesday.

And the NPSC coaches?

Well, they went in, too -- but they didn't jump in the water themselves.
"It's a tradition," said Sean Piper, soaking wet, climbing out of the pool in street shorts along with co-coach Brenagh Sanford who, fortunately for her, was wearing a bathing suit at the time the kids forced her in the water.

"We love our kids," said Sanford, grinning, towel-drying the water out of her long hair on the deck.

Gregory Seahurst gave it a good go, too, making this a close meet through the first 24 events, trailing, 116-115, before Normandy Park, slowly and surely, stretched this one out to the final 60-point margin of victory.

"They definitely have improved and came to swim and made it a really fun meet," said Piper, whose NPSC team stands at 4-1 in the SSSL, having only lost to Kent this season.

Mike Fosberg, the Gregory Seahurst coach, and his team gave Arbor Heights a really good meet before losing by 20-something points in the end, and also have already beaten a couple teams this season. And, so, they finished respectably, now, to a seasoned stalwart of the SSSL like Normandy Park, which always is in the thick of things.

So, being down one point a quarter of the way through the meet and giving up ground, slowly, throughout the rest of the meet is a point that should be taken into consideration. Considering, too, that Gregory Seahurst loses to most teams during the SSSL past several seasons, things definitely look on the up and up for GSSC under Fosberg's helm.
"We actually felt like we had a chance going into this meet," said Fosberg. "That was a nice solid effort by the kids."

Normandy Park was strong with swimmers like Grant Meyers, a 15-and-over, winning the 100-yard freestyle in 57.50 and the 50 backstroke in 29.11 as well as helping the NPSC 200-yard free relay team win in 1:37.25 with teammates Kyle Pierce, Joseph Burdine and Eric Reiff.

NPSC's Megan Kawaguchi won two races in the 11-12 gurls, too. She was first in the 100 individual medley in 1:00.16 and 50 back in 27.44 and helped her 15 and over 200 medley relay win in 1:58.16.

NPSC's Vivian Woare, all of age 8, did well, too, against her competition in this meet with GSSC, winning the 25 breaststroke in 21.45, capped with a win in the 25 back in 19.49.

As a 7-year old, swimming against bigger, and, obviously older, swimmers, Woare took third place there and that's good and this season she's eight, winning her races, dropping time by a second, or so, so far this season in meets.

Woare attributes her success to what she's learned to do so well. And, swimming hard is only the half of it.

Good because?

"Because of my coaches," said Woare.

Woare has learned a thing or two from them, for certain, it's easy to tell what she's to do in her races, like, the breaststroke.

"You have to kick really hard and have a strong pull," Woare said.
Pulling your arms through the water?

"Yeah," said Woare.

So, All City looks in the midst of Woare's view and she knows what she needs to do to get there and getting there is only the half of what she aspires to do this season once there.

"Try to do first," said Woare.

To do that?

"Got to swim really hard," said Woare, who also helped her 200 medley relay take first place in a time of 1:26.19, with teammates, Joy Felner, Olivia Wade, Cecilia Woare, in this meet against GSSC.

"She's our stand-out eight-year-old," said Piper. "She's been dominant all season. She's hoping to go to All City and do really well."

Well, that's a good take on some of the reasons why Normandy Park won this meet, including taking first place in six of the last eight races, the 200 free relays to really explain the final points tally.

"We lost in the free relays," said Fosberg. "That has a lot to do with depth."

NPSC carries 179 swimmers while GSSC tallies around 125, so, that's not just more firsts, in a theoretical sense, but, also more second and thirds.

But Fosberg's team is improving against typical, traditional powerhouses like Normandy Park.

Fosberg started the rebuilding of this team last year and the start was nearly the end but swimmers like Jessica Wakefield had something to say about that.

"He wasn't going to come back this summer and coach us, but a bunch of us begged him to come back," said GSSC swimmer Wakefield, 12. "And, I really, really hope he is going to keep doing it."

Jessica's little sister, Katelynn, did it well in this meet against NPSC, as the nine-year-old, swimming against older 10 year olds in her swim class, beat her competition. She won in the 100 IM in 1:26.37, showing a knack for technique swimming, as that event means a swimmer swims the butterfly, breast, back, free, for 25 yards each.

Then Wakefield won, too, in the 25 fly in 16.37. She swam against good competition in Emma Jacobi for NPSC, and that fueled Wakefield's fire.
"I've been improving in my races by 3-4 seconds since having competition with more 10-year-olds," said Wakefield.

Wakefield took second at All City last August in the 25 breaststroke and she's shooting to do that, again, or, better, this time around. And more.

"I want to beat breaststroke times, beat our pool records," said Wakefield, mentioning the name of one who holds GSSC pool records.
"Emily Zacharias," said Wakefield.

And, backing up a paragraph or three, since Katelynn has a three year older sister, it's important to ask Katelynn important questions, like...

What do you like about your big sister, Jessica?

Katelynn paused, thinking, not answering.

"That's a hard question," she said, eyes focused, then, thinking some more, "That's a hard question."

"Hmm, we like to dive together, and, swimming in the water," said Katelynn.

And, big sis, Jessica, too, had some things to say on all this, but, first, what did her dad, Rick, give her after she met the incentive of making prelims, on July 29 that directly precede -- and qualify -- a swimmer/relay to the Southerns meet on July 31, of top six times getting a spot on the blocks, followed by All City, August 5?

"Fifty bucks," said Jessica Wakefield.

And, what will be done with that money?

"I'm probably going to save it for something for my little sister," she said. "Even though she's mean to me, sometimes, I love her and swimming is a way we bond together."

Another doing well GSSC coach Fosberg mentioned was Joey Joyal, someone Fosberg sees much potential in more than just the freestyle, all-out fast swimming event.

"He sees himself as just a freestyler, and, he is just a really good swimmer, and, we are trying to find a second race for him," said Fosberg of Joyal who won the boys 11-12 50 free in 30.41 and the 50 back in 35.62.

Joyal's seeing improvement in himself, too, as he works toward the end of the season that should include All City in his future.

Joyal dropped significant time in the 50 back and it's notable to know why he's doing that.

"I went from a 37.7 to a 35.5," said Joyal.
Went faster, why?

"I kicked harder, and rotated my shoulders more, I was more steady," said Joyal.

So, things look on the mend for the GSSC swim program, slowly but surely, and, his two kids, Stella and Finn, get a say in too.

"We're doing way better when he's been coaching," said Stella.

Added Finn, "He's a horrible coach," as his dad reached out a hand and tried to tip him in the head.

Laughing, Finn then quit kidding around and said, "He knows swimming and he's good at teaching the little kids things."

So, GSSC is being taught a lot and back to NPSC one last time and starting with Conner Reiff, who won the boys 11-12 100 IM, in 1:17.62, he said these words of swimming and his coaches, Piper and Sanford.

"They are making me do more push-ups, telling me things, tell me to keep my arms high, and, even if I get tired to keep pushing my body harder."
And the IM is the most demanding on the body, having to master all four strokes, and more.

"It takes more energy to do all the strokes, and, takes twice as long to learn all the strokes."

And, back to sisters, or, brothers, and, sisters, in this case, Reiff gets assistance there too.

"My brother and sister help me compete, and push me more," said Reiff, whose sister, Alicia, won the 13-14 girls 100 IM in 1:14.10, and, brother, Eric, won the boys 15 and over 100 IM in 1:10.70, and 50 fly in 25.59.

And Addison Bowker also of NPSC, is someone having fun swimming along with friends like Faith Felner, Sarah Jenner, Abby Bork, and, also, friends like Dominique Pangellinan, who wasn't swimming on the day but, instead, cheering swimmers on and who snuck into a photo taken during the meet of the five girl friends.

"I really like swimming 'cuz it's fun and the coaches are really nice," said Bowker.

Said Felner, "I really like it, too. The food is good, too."
Barbecues are, sometimes, the fare for swimmers for meets, preferably eaten after the meet or, at least, an hour, or so, before since food causes cramping.

"What I like most about swim team is good team spirit," said Bork. "No matter what we all stick together."

And, for NPSC it was good this was a win."They did a really good job," said Karianne Bolma, 14, of GSSC.

She was glad her NPSC team won the dual meet, though, for obvious reasons.

"So we don't get as hard of a workout from our coaches," she said.
And, all these words said, some of the competitive nature, some of a coaching nature, some of a friends nature, some, still, of a sibling nature, altogether bring full circle a feeling that swimmers feel from this sport. It's one that jigs and jives to songs like "YMCA" by The Village People, that swimmers get up on the blocks in between races to boogie and dance to the beat.
That one word?

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