Young programs ready to dive in


Sports editor

The Decatur Gators can rival the Todd Beamer Titans for the youngest team in the South Puget Sound League South Division. The Gators and coach Ted Rychlik have no seniors on their roster.

“We have mostly ninth- and tenth-graders on the team,” Rychlik said. “Experience is our big weakness.”

The Gators will be counting on Laura Heydon and Niko Olsrud to score a lot of points during the regular season. Heydon will swim freestyle sprints and the backstroke and Olsrud will also swim the back and freestyle. Newcomers Alyssa Boggs, Jill Heydon, Hilary McGowen and Lindsey Crowder will also score points for the Gators.

“We will have good middle depth in most events,” Rychlik said. “We are deeper than we have been in the last couple of years. We hope to have two or three individuals at state and some relays as well.”


First-year coach Wendy Neely is excited about taking over the young, but talented Thomas Jefferson swimming program. Neely will be counting on plenty of underclassmen on the Raiders’ roster this season. Jefferson will feature only two seniors.

Neely will be counting on four sophomores, a junior and a freshman to score a bulk of the Raiders points. Sophomores Lindsey Hesla (backstroke), Tasia Esparza (breaststroke), Kerri Blegen (freestyle) and Justina Coe (individual medley, freestyle and butterfly), junior Brendy Stevens (butterfly, freestyle) and freshman Emma Miller will provide versatility.

The Jefferson roster includes 34 girls, one of the highest turnouts in the district.

Federal Way

Carla Boone takes over a Federal Way girl’s swimming/diving team which finished up last year with a 2-6 record in the South Puget Sound League South Division. The first-year coach hopes that record will be better in 2003, but she is still optimistic about the Eagles chances.

“This will be a good building year,” Boone said. “We have a young team.”

One of the few seniors on the Eagles’ roster is diver Shannon O’Neal. Other key returners for Federal Way will be fly and freestyler Kiana Shaw, all-arounder Lindsey Chapman and back and freestyler Teresa Anderson.

“Our team strengths are relay teams and a strong team ethic,” Boone said.


First-year coach Susan Bergman hopes to make some noise at Todd Beamer High School.

“I have a strong core of girls that will earn varsity letters this year and I believe they have a chance at state competition,” Bergman said.

Bergman will be counting on several freshmen and sophomores during the season. The school has no seniors and the swim team sports only have five juniors.

“I am looking forward to giving all members of our team some competitive experience this year and watching them develop and refine their skills.”

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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