Spartans hope to match the perfection of last year | FALL SPORTS PREVIEW

Shayla Archer practices with the Spartans swim team at the Bainbridge Island Aquatics Center. Bainbridge hopes to match last year’s success in dual-meet action.  - Brian Kelly / Bainbridge Island Review
Shayla Archer practices with the Spartans swim team at the Bainbridge Island Aquatics Center. Bainbridge hopes to match last year’s success in dual-meet action.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / Bainbridge Island Review

Before the start of the season, Spartan Coach Greg Colby knew last week would give the best look yet on how the Bainbridge girls swim/dive team would do this year.

After two weeks of practice without a test, the Spartans powered through three meets in a single week. First came Newport, then Kamiak, then the Spartan Relays on Saturday.

And what a great glimpse he got. Bainbridge won all three.

There were a few questions, of course, for Colby, now in his 21st season at the helm of the team. The Spartans lost six swimmers to graduation, and 16 new swimmers joined the team.

Thirteen are freshmen, two are transfers, and one is an exchange student from Albania.

All told, he has a team that numbers 41, which is about a dozen more athletes than he’s seen in the past two or three seasons.

But while he has the numbers this year, Colby also has numbers from 2011 to keep in mind.

“Last year the team did fantastic. They went undefeated in the dual meet season. They got second at the district championships and second at the state meet,” Colby recalled.

The Spartans were perfect in dual-meet competition last year, finishing the season at 10-0.

Bainbridge hopes to go undefeated again this year.

“It will be a tough order to fill, to match that, with this young group,” he noted.

“But we’ll see. The kids surprise themselves — and me,” he said.

“We’re certainly not resting on our laurels from last year,” Colby added. “We’ve got to make sure we practice hard and race aggressively. If we do that, we should be fine.”

Kay Sterner, Sarah Grundman and Kayla Estes are the team’s captains.

“All three of them bring different leadership skills to the team. It’s a great combo,” the coach said.

“You never know where people are going to step up and lead,” he added.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of our freshmen end up being leaders for the team. We’ve got a couple of sophomores who will be returning to the state meet. They certainly can show some leadership,” Colby said. “And we’ve got juniors that could be possible team captains for next year.”

In its first weeks of practice, the team has been focusing on endurance training and base work.

“Basically getting an aerobic base of fitness under them,” Colby explained.

“A lot of these kids come in really fit, because they are club swimmers, so they swam all the way since last season. They only took a couple of weeks off in August before we started up again,” he added.

The Spartans started the season Sept. 11 against Kamiak and won, 108-72.

The bigger test came against Newport on Sept. 13.

Racing at Newport, a 4A school, also means competing in an outdoor pool. The Knights are also known as a well-coached team.

“It’s alway tough to swim them. Always,” Colby noted.

Bainbridge beat Newport 104-82 to move to 2-0 on the season, and followed with another win Saturday during the Spartan Relays.

Bainbridge finished with 73, followed by Central Kitsap/Sehome with 46, Marysville Pilchuck (30), Port Angeles (24), and Marysville Getchell (15).

The other rough spots on the schedule include Mercer Island (Oct. 2, at Mary Wayte Pool on Mercer Island) and Bellevue (Oct. 17, at home).

After last week’s grueling schedule, the Spartans were looking forward to a tiny bit of off-time before they competed again Friday, Sept. 21 against Mount Rainier at home.

“We’ll have some time to recover and do a little more training before we compete again,” Colby said.

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