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One stroke at a time, swimmers making gains on Wildcats’ inaugural squad | Valley Record Photo Gallery

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Mount Si's Jessica Brady bursts from the water during the IM breaststroke competition Sept. 26.
— image credit: Seth Truscott/Staff Photo

Ashley Cole blasts into the water from the board, chasing the clock in this relay race.

A good start means a better time for Cole, a Mount Si sophomore motivated by both team spirit, fitness and a personal drive.

“I’m trying to improve,” says Cole. Like the rest of this brand new Valley swim team, she’s succeeding, one stroke at a time.

Mount Si held the last of its four front-loaded home meets Thursday, Sept. 26, at the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge pool. With no seniors, juniors have been leading the pack. The team’s fastest swimmers, Jessica Brady, Kelly McCracken and Emma Gieseke are grabbing lots of thirds and fourths and some second-places.

Mount Si’s 200-yard medley relay squad has been consistent in the early season around 2:25, claiming third against Roosevelt on Sept. 13.

Gieseke, McCracken, Sadie Woolf and Zoie Bel have led the Wildcats in the 200 freestyle.

Brady has been Mount Si’s 200 yard individual medley leader, clocking an average time of two minutes, 40 seconds.

Ashley Cole, Maddie Hager and Bel have been placing in the 50 yard freestyle.

Also, Murial Ross, Brooke Presnall, Maddy Privatsky and Hallie Lynn have been climbing into the top eight placings in the 100 yard freestyle.

“It’s more individual improvement” that matters, says freshman Maddy Privatsky.

“I feel like I improved a lot,” says Privatsky, who came out to condition for basketball and loved the sport.

“Tons of kids are impressing me and tons are improving,” said coach Patrick Stewart.

Stewart praised Cole and Lynn for their times. A lot of swimmers improved at last Thursday’s meet, thanks to the summer-like afternoon weather. By contrast, Tuesday’s meet with Ballard was slower due to the wintry cold.

Mount Si’s four home meets were all scheduled early this season, due to their late entry to the league, combined with their outdoor pool. Bad weather can be discouraging, and the pool isn’t always warm. “But you get through it,” says McCracken. There’s competitiveness, but it’s “good competition.... We just cheer for everyone. All the teams cheer for each other.”

“That’s the best part of swimming,” added Brady.

On Thursday, McCracken dropped seven seconds in her freestyle 100 and 50 performances.

“I would like to get a KingCo time,” said the junior. To get there, she knows she needs to practice hard and hit her time targets.

Brady is the mentor, says team manager Nicole Wood. She’s older, charismatic, and “has been doing this since she was little.”

“This season has been good,” says the upbeat Brady. “Everybody is making big improvements in their stroke and their times. We’ve seen some awesome team spirit, and some great sportsmanship. Everybody’s having a lot of fun, which is, of course, fantastic.”

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Arms wheel as Mount Si’s Kelly McCracken competes in the backstroke. She took fourth at home Thursday, Sept. 26, competing with Bellevue, above and below.


Maddie Privatsky and Kylie Newsome.

Sadie Woolf readies for launch in the backstroke, above and below.


Jessica Brady bursts from the water in the breaststroke during Mount Si's final home swim meet Sept. 26. She took third in the event and second in the 200 yard individual medley.






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