HVST kicks off season with 'Aquaman'

More than 300 kids ages 4-18 competed in the Harbor View Swim Team's "Aquaman" event two weeks ago.

The first meet of the season, an intrasquad competition, features all participants racing freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly, with the lowest combined time in each age group earning the "Aquaman" title.

Winners were Allison Cohen and Brandon Wink in the 5-6 age category; Riley Garbutt and Dylan Salazar in the 7-8's; Abby Nutt and Connor Cohen in the 9-10's; Logan Ledger and Luke Chelf in the 11-12's; Bella Jung and Liam Mickelson in the 13-14's; and siblings Ellen and Robert Naruse in the 15-18's. In addition, Chelf set a pool record in the 50-yard breaststroke in 32.56 seconds.

Co-head coaches Kate Inglis and Ben Dowswell have taken over the pool deck this year, following HVST's 35-plus years under legendary coach Ted Bandaruk's leadership.

"It's really exciting to be a part of the Harbor View family for my second year," Dowswell said. "The really cool thing about Harbor View is the family atmosphere established around the swim team. I've coached for over 10 years and while the swimming that happens here is great, the community is what makes Harbor View special. The entire coaching staff is awesome and work really well with the kids to make swimming fun while developing their skills."

Inglis and Dowswell have implemented some changes in the pool too.

"We are trying to utilize advanced training techniques to produce fast swimmers while keeping the fun Harbor View spirit alive," Dowswell said.

One change this year was the introduction of the Eliminator Series during the freestyle portion of the Aquaman meet. Broken down into 10-and-under and 11-and-over divisions, the top-eight fastest times compete against each other. The top four from that heat then swim again with the final two fastest times in each division competing for the Eliminator trophies.

"The kids loved it both competing in the Eliminator and watching the races," Inglis said. "They were really competitive."

Nutt and Cohen won the 10-and under divisions, while Eliza Britt, Jack Harryman and Jake Wyatt were the winners in the older division.

"We are looking forward to a very competitive year," Inglis said. "Many of the older kids who had been part of HVST since they were 4 and 5 years old have come back this summer. We look forward to the depth these swimmers will provide our team, but also love that they are part of the program again. Most important is the energy these older kids provide on the pool deck. It is noticeable not just during meets but at practice too, as the younger swimmers feed on this energy."

These swimmers were personally contacted by the coaching staff and convinced to fit HVST into their busy summer schedules. The fact that these kids are coming back to the program proves to be a testament to the coaching staff's hard work.

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