Swimmers look strong early

"In their opening meet of the season, the Bainbridge women's swim team took every event but one, leaving North Kitsap to go home nearly empty-handed. As a bonus, two Bainbridge swimmers qualified for the state meet in November.The meet went well, said coach Greg Colby. Especially considering that people weren't swimming their main events - it was just really good for them to race and have a meet.Leslie Wukstich qualified for state with a 1:02:03 in the 100-meter butterfly, almost four full seconds under the state time.Emily Silver also qualified in her lead-off role for the freestyle relay. She swam her 50-meter leg in 25:30. The state time is 26:00.Swimmers who qualify in speed get an automatic slot in the state tournament. The other way to qualify is to place first in an event at the district meet.Colby said he was especially pleased with Wukstich, who dropped three seconds off her 100 fly from last year.North Kitsap took only the 200 freestyle, with Jacklene Salwei taking a first place with a time of 2:06:69. Team captain Erin Russell saw the meet as a harbinger.I feel like I did really well and that the team did really well, she said. It's a good foreshadow for the rest of the year.Russell also said North Kitsap is a weak team, but suggested that could change.In general, we do win meets with them, she said. Their program is not as strong as ours - not yet. They've just started their club.One pleasant surprise for Bainbridge came with junior Natalie Berry. A childhood swimmer who took some time off, she placed first in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 1:08:43.Paul Torno, the meet's emcee, personally welcomed Berry back to competitive swimming.She was something of a surprise, said Colby. She could be on the state team. I'm looking forward to watching her progress this year.On Thursday, Bainbridge also raced past the Lakes High School squad with surprising ease.I had anticipated Lakes being stronger, Colby said. But the kids had a great time, they're real upbeat, and just cruising along.Melissa Clune, Helen Silver, Emily Silver and Leslie Wukstich made state qualifying times and 27 swimmers broke their personal best.The Spartan swimmers' next meet will see them in Sequim Sept. 19. I really like Sequim, Colby said. It's the only place I've ever been where their parents cheer for our kids. "

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