When you have a smaller roster than other schools, it changes how you define success. By sheer numbers, Woodinville was outmanned by North Creek in their dual meet last Thursday. And the predictable result was a 108-73 loss at Redmond Pool.
But individual milestones had the Falcon squad fired up.
“We had some really fast swims,” Woodinville coach George Sayah said. “Konstantin [Damov], our freshman, got a District qualifying time in his 200 IM. And Josh [Eagle] got a District qualifying time in his 50 Free. It was the first qualifying time for both guys, which is really special when you get that first one.”
Eagle’s story is an interest-ing one. As a senior, he’s only been competitively swimming for two years.
“Last year I went to the Kingco invitationals but didn’t make it to Districts,” Eagle said. “Which was okay because I was still relatively new. But I told myself today that I if I didn’t make it today I wasn’t going to get it ever. So I pushed myself and I made it. It feels wonderful.”
Eagle is also a study in contradictions. His last name is Eagle even though he’s a Woodinville Falcon. He’s physically built like a football linebacker but he’s a swimmer. And unlike many of his Falcon cohorts, he enjoys the 5AM workouts.
“I actually like the morning practices,” Eagle said. “We get here at 5AM and we go until 6:15AM. It’s really nice because I do a lot of school [activities] and I don’t have to worry about practice and it’s a nice workout in the morning. I know not everybody likes the early practices, and that’s the reason why our team is smaller. It’s always hard to get up at 4:30AM. But we always rev each other up, and we always get here.”
Coach Sayah smiled and nodded when told of Eagle’s comment.
“If we can shift the thought a little bit [that would be beneficial],” Sayah said. “It is early, I get it. But we can use it as an advantage. The season will end in mid-February and we won’t get to do this anymore. I really try to instill in [the kids] that’s it’s a privilege we get to do this all together. And we should take advantage of it and not take it for granted.”
DIVE TEAM SWEEPS DIVING EVENT
Five Heck, Jack Sell and Connor Ball brought home 13 points for the Falcons going 1-2-3 in the diving event versus North Creek. According to diving coach Debra Shelton, swimmers can meet the time standards for postseason at each dual meet. However, divers face the challenge of competing in only six dives at dual meets. For the postseason, divers must have an eleven dive list including two dives from each group (front, back, reverse, inward and twisting) and in one group, an additional optional dive.
“The learning curve for diving is very steep and with our short season, divers have so much to learn in a short amount of time,” Shelton said. “Just learning to manage the spring of the board and appropriate angle of take-off is tough enough. But to learn eleven dives in six weeks is quite an accomplishment.”
As of this writing, Shelton expected Heck to qualify for Districts and said that Sell and Ball stand a chance as well.
GIRLS TEAM SHOWS SUPPORT
A dozen members of the girls Falcons swim and dive squad showed up last Thursday to support the boys team.
“Since we are a sport with two different seasons, it is important to me that we have some crossover,” coach Sayah said. “We had about twelve girls here, which is about a third of our team. So the fact they were here to support our boys team was really special.”
Senior Laina Emerick also serves as an assistant on the boys team. Her track record of success combined with her fourteen years of swimming experience has made her a valuable asset, according to Sayah.
“They call her `coach’, which shows the respect they have for her,” Sayah said.