The Mount Si girls swim team is steadily making changes this fall, posting more athletes into the postseason and swimming out of a new home pool.
So far this year, Mount Si has had five athletes qualify for league meet, two for districts. Last year, just two made the post season.
Heading into league are Jessica Brady, Julia Crumb, Anastasia Kalistratova, Daisey Hartman and Murial Ross. Crumb, a club-experienced freshman, and Kalistratova have both qualified for districts.
To go to league, girls must post a qualifying time during the fall season.
“I knew some of them were going to do it, but I didn’t expect all of them,” said Mount Si coach Patrick Stewart. “I knew we were going to do better than last year”: Some good younger athletes were coming up; others had practiced this past summer.
At Tuesday’s meet, Oct. 14, against Liberty at Boehm’s Pool in Issaquah, Brady dropped time in both of her events, the 100 butterfly and 100-meter breaststroke.
In the 400 freestyle relay, Brady anchored a foursome that included Emma Gieseke, Aiyana Cooney and Analise Brestin. The makeup of that team depends on who’s eligible to swim, so there’s been a few changeovers. Brady has goals for this group: “We’re hoping to make improvements, figure out the best order to get a solid time, and hopefully, compete well at districts.”
“I’d say it was probably our best meet so far,” said Gieseke, a senior, who has her eye on qualifying times. She felt she had improved over past performances.
“We’ve had a lot of best times, a lot of major improvements, especially from our newer swimmers,” said Brady. “That’s been fun.”
“Mount Si isn’t necessarily the most competitive team, per se,” she added. “We’re small, we’re a new program, we don’t have the depth of club swimmers that a lot of the other teams have. Club swimming just isn’t as big. But we’ve seen a lot of personal growth and improvement, that’s what counts. We’re having fun and working hard.”
A lot of these swimmers do club competition together outside of school, so there’s a positive energy at meets. And Brady, a team captain, helps keep spirits up.
“I just do my best to cheer for all of my athletes! I definitely have a reputation for being loud,” she said.
Recently, Mount Si had to move from the Snoqualmie Ridge TPC to Si View as home pool. That’s got its negatives and positives. TPC is full size, 25 yards, but it’s out of doors. Si View is shorter, 17 yards, so it’s a challenge to practice in, but it’s also warmer, so it’s more in line, temperature-wise, to where the team is competing. Plus, warm swimmers go faster.
“It’s definitely easier to get best times, being indoors, especially it being October,” Gieseke said.
“Competition indoors is great,” Brady said. “It’s a lot easier to do backstroke, for sure. Practicing indoors has been a bit of a challenge, just because Si View is a little bit small. But they’ve been so welcoming to us.”
Mount Si next competes Thursday, Oct. 23, at Mercer Island’s Mary Watye Pool versus Interlake. On Saturday, Oct. 25, the KingCo Invitational meet gives Mount Si athletes a last chance to get their league times. Stewart expects his athletes to keep improving, reaching for personal records.
“For a lot of the kids I have, there are quite a few that this is the first year they’ve done this,” he said. “They’re improving every week, having fun doing it.”
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