For the Woodinville Boys swim team, circumstances and limited resources have neutered this season of much of its motivation. With a shortage of participants, the Falcons enter each meet virtually doomed to defeat. Stacked against other teams with much larger rosters, it’s a numbers game, as Woodinville’s 0-3 record attests.
"Dual meet season is going to be tough all year," Woodinville coach Annie Price said. "We don’t have the numbers to produce a win in the dual meet season. We’re down to 15 boys including divers. Three of those divers will swim if needed, but in dual meet season it will be really, really difficult to win."
The reason for this stems from limited resources and available pool time for practice. Woodinville, Bothell and Inglemoor must all practice at 5 a.m. in order to practice at all. And it takes a certain, special kind of kid to want to join a team that trains that early.
"The pools are limited based on who is around," Price said. "The 5 a.m. practice time is killing us. It doesn’t help us with the number of participants. It’s horrible. Because nobody wants to practice or work hard at five o’clock in the morning."
Thus far, Woodinville has lost dual meets to Inglemoor, Sammamish and Redmond.
"If we go up against a team of the same number I would assume we would definitely (be competitive)," she said. "Sammamish has to be one of the smallest teams we will go against all season. But we lost to Sammamish, mainly because they could put a body in every lane. Whereas we could only put one or two bodies per event, and we can’t maximize the number of swims. If we could have three swimmers in every event, then we would definitely have a chance to win. But we can’t because we don’t have the numbers."
When asked about maintaining team morale, Price acknowledged challenges.
"The morale of the team is a little low when you feel like you’re never winning an event," she said. " It has even hit me hard a couple times. And I look in the mirror and think ‘Annie what are you doing?’
"But if (my swimmers) focus fully on trying to improve their time or focus on making a time standard, in order to enter into one of the post season meets, like KingCo, District or State, there is always a drive to get better."
The Woodinville Weekly will explore the future of WHS swimming and the question of resources in a future issue.
For the time being, Price was asked to give commentary on four of her swimmers.
Benjamin Whitty, sophomore: "Benjamin is currently our fastest breaststroker. His goal is to go first at State, and he very well could. He just swam a 58-second 100-yard breaststroke for USA Swimming. So he’s definitely going to be swimming hard at State this year. He is a sophomore and very strong with both team mentality and overall competition."
Max Emerick, junior: "He’s just talent beyond talent. Not only is he a coachable strong athlete, but he’s also willing to do what it takes for the athletes around him. Whether it’s to coach them into a frenzy or help as a sideline coach. He will be top 8 (in his individual events at State) because he is one of those persons that is determined. Just a phenomenal attitude."
Joshua Scheck, senior: "He made a year round swimming change and has shown such huge improvement from last season to this season. I would not doubt him being top 8 in his individual events at State. He is one of the cream-of- the- crop kids. Great attitude, great leadership qualities and responsibilities. He’s just a strong swimmer. He’s like one of those mind-boggling athletes that swims hard every single day of the week and never gets tired."
Clark Cyr, senior: "He is a diver who has been with the team for four years. He is one of those kids that will do whatever you need him to do and more. He’ll not only dive for the team on a regular basis, but he will also swim if needed, if I’m running low on athletes. He’s such a talented creature. A creature of habit and a full-on positive attitude and one of those kids that you wish you could clone and keep on the team for four years. He’s a phenomenal kid."