Tommies ready to jump back in

Senior diver Zach Russell finished No. 11 in the 2009 4A state meet. - Danielle Szulczewski
Senior diver Zach Russell finished No. 11 in the 2009 4A state meet.
— image credit: Danielle Szulczewski

MARYSVILLE — Coach Scott Knowles is in the enviable position of returning six state-qualifying swimmers this season.

The 30-year coach is hoping to build from a season that saw the Tomahawks win the Wesco Conference title, place third at the District 1 meet and seventh at the Class 4A state meet.

"It's a big puzzle right now," said Knowles about finding exactly where to place his 84 swimmers this year. "We're trying to find out where to put everybody, and every one of our state swimmers will get a chance to race every event to see where they are the strongest."

And many of the pieces revolve around senior Oliver Durand, who placed sixth in the 200-yard freestyle race at the state meet, and was a leg of both the 200- and 400-yard free relays, which both earned medals finishing seventh.

"A lot will determine just where both Oliver and the team can maximize their potential," Knowles said.

That is a fine line to walk, but returning a number of state swimmers, including seniors Brandon Caldwell and Zach Russell, juniors Connor Hemming and Spencer Girard and Sophomore Josh Estrella, should help.

"It does make it a bit easier because all of these guys swim so many different events," said Knowles, who anticipates being able to find the best rotation for the postseason around January, drawing from the largest team he has had in more than a decade.

He anticipates being near the top again at the Wesco Conference, but said there is work that needs to be done to top Oak Harbor and Stanwood.

"We should be right up there," he said. "Relays are going to be hard to figure out just where to put kids, but once we do, I think we'll be alright."

The Tomahawks return at least half of each state relay team, although they did graduate one of the most successful swimmers in school history, 2009 200-IM state champion Trevor LeValley.

A meet to circle on the calender is the Jan. 14 showdown versus Stanwood, which gives the Tommies one final tuneup before the District 1 meet.

Other swimmers that qualified for individual events include Estella in the 100 backstroke and Russell in diving.

Knowles remarked that his team is so large that some swimmers won't be able to travel to the team's four away meets this season. Marysville's first meet is Dec. 3 at home against Squalicum before taking on in-conference opponents.

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