Swim team looks for seventh state championship

BHS Sophomore Cameo Hlebasko backstrokes her way down the pool during practice. She is one of four sophomores on the team this season.  - Staff Photo/ Brad Camp
BHS Sophomore Cameo Hlebasko backstrokes her way down the pool during practice. She is one of four sophomores on the team this season.
— image credit: Staff Photo/ Brad Camp

Greg Colby has no illusions that his 18th Bainbridge High girls swim and dive team will produce the school’s fifth state championship under his tutelage – seventh overall.

Such expectations would be foolhardy when considering that 11 freshmen and only four seniors are on the 29-member (with 10 juniors and four sophomores) team. His previous two teams each had 12 seniors to lead the way.

Still, he hopes the team will be strong in dual meets and also improve on last year’s sixth-place finish at state. And he has a glint in his eyes when discussing the potential of the freshmen class.

“It’s a big transition for them because there’s a big learning curve from club swimming and diving,” said Colby, who is assisted by ex-BHS swimmers Megan Livingston and Amanda Evans. “But it’s exciting because the class has a strong core and some have competitive experience.”

He believes several of the freshmen will be able to contribute on relay teams because they work hard and had success before becoming high schoolers. All three divers – Kittie Cooper, Koki Kresser and Lilia Paul – are experienced in club championship competition and should help the team, Colby said.

The Spartans are led by senior captains Kinsey Lowe, Olivia MacDonald and Eliza Silverman. Sophomore Tess Harpur was the team’s top performer at the state meet a year ago, placing among the top eight swimmers in two events and also in two relays. Junior Emily Sonnenfeld and sophomore Cameo Hlebasko also swam at state with two relay teams.

Harpur showed great promise as a freshman, placing seventh with a time of 2 minutes, 15.04 seconds in the 200-meter individual medley and eighth in the in the 100-meter fly in 1:00.24. Harpur also swam a leg on the 200 medley relay team that placed fourth at state.

While Colby will never be satisfied with a sixth-place finish, he characterized last year’s team as having a good season because it worked hard and continued to improve from meet to meet.

Moving forward, however, he sees enough talent during this first week of the daily four-hour practices (split between the pool and land training) to have him thinking about molding a championship team from this group’s core. Not that he reveals much when asked about his expectations for this year’s team.

“I’d like them to have fun, and get to know each other and like each other,” he said. “And work hard. If we do those three things, we’ll have a good season. We’re off to a great start.”

Certainly, Colby expects success consider the program’s legacy.

“It was an excellent program when I inherited it,” he said. “With the work ethic and history of success here, I’m just trying to keep the ball rolling and have fun.”

Fall 2009 Roster

Seniors – Kinsey Lowe, Olivia MacDonald, Alex Miggins, Eliza Silverman;

Juniors – Rahel Agamalian, Isabel Brofsky, Morgan Friel, Claire Knox, Jackie Lee, Anna-Olivia McClain, Kendall Sanson, Taylor Shea, Emily Sonnenfeld, Eliana Victurine;

Sophomores – Tess Harpur, Cameo Hlebasko, Alex Salmon, Rita Sand;

Freshmen – Maddy Arends, Kittie Cooper, Cali Correa, Kayla Estes, Sarah Grundman, Koki Kresser, Lilia Paul, Tatiana Sils, Kay Sterner, Lydia Weyand, Katie Wyatt.

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