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Winter Sports Preview --- Swimming
By CASEY OLSON
You cant get any better than last year for the Decatur High School boys swimming/diving team. The Gators stood atop the podium at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center as the 2002-03 Class 4A state champions.
Fast forward a season and the Gators think they can achieve that feeling again. Fourth-year coach Heather Kreier returns several swimmers with state meet experience and has one of the larger teams in the area with over 40 kids turning out.
Its do or die, Kreier said. We are going for number one again.
The Gators will also have a little bit more incentive to perform at state. This will be Kreiers final season at the helm of the Decatur program.
Kreier will be counting on Eric Johnson, Erich Matulic and Seamus Alger to accumulate a lot of points during the regular season.
Matulic was part of the state champion 200 medley relay team and also placed third in the 500 freestyle and fifth in the 200 free. Johnson was part of the Gators 200 freestyle relay team, along with Alger, and also was third in the 100 breaststroke.
Other strong returners include senior Marty Klingebiel and junior Alan Silver. Top newcomers to the Decatur program include freshman Stephen Sullivan, sophomore Sean Newton and junior Eric Taylor.
The Gators will be without the services of Joon Youm this season. Youm finished as the state Swimmer of the Year for three straight years after winning six individual state championships before graduating. He is currently swimming at the University of Southern California.
The Eagles and coach Carla Boone return several swimmers from a team that rolled to a 3-3 record in the South Puget Sound League South Division a season ago. The .500 record was good for fourth place.
This year should be a good year for our seniors, Boone said.
Those seniors include freestylers Brian Crick and Alan Hunter, breaststroker/freestyler Chris Ball and butterflyer Erick Weishaar.
I am expecting them to go to state in individual events.
The Eagles, however, do have one glaring weakness numbers. Federal Way has only a select few turning out.
The Raiders are hoping to improve on last years 2-4 record in the South Puget Sound League South Division. Coach Wendy Neely has a small, but fast team.
Jefferson will be counting on returners Matt Diotte, Andrew Jung, David Bai and Dan Smith, as well as newcomer Paul Tomko.
The Raiders opened their SPSL South season against Decatur yesterday and swim again Tuesday at home against Rogers.
Coach Al Alexander has his work cut out for him. Alexander is taking over the first-year Todd Beamer High School boys swim team, which will be competing in one of the best leagues in the state.
The team is rather small with no seniors or returning swimmers, Alexander said.
But that wont stop the Titans from giving a 100 percent effort every time they jump into the swimming pool. Alexander will be counting on three sophomores and a freshman to score points for Beamer during dual meets. Leading the Titans will be sophomores Jonathan Hiett, Sel-Jim Beag and Kyle Krzyznieski and freshman T.J. Young.
Despite the size and youth, the team is very committed, hard working and has a few outstanding swimmers and should grow and be a very strong team next season, Alexander said.
The Titans opened up their South Puget Sound League South Division schedule yesterday against the Rogers Rams and will swim again Tuesday against Puyallup at home at the King County Aquatic Center.