A pair of familiar faces are back to lead the Sequim High girls swim squad.
Former head coach Sarah Thorson and former assistant Cherise Feser co-coach a Wolves team with 14 swimmers on the roster.
Sequim lost a number of regulars from the 2022 squad to graduation but see the return of three of their four varsity relay members, including Natalie Cross — the team’s lone senior — junior Melisa Nelson and sophomore Annie Ellefson.
Cross, Nelson and junior Keira Morey are the team’s captains.
That trio and now-graduated Hi’ilei Robinson took 13th in the 400 relay and 20th in the 200 medley relay at last year’s state meet.
Freshman Ava Shinkle is the team’s top swimmer from the season’s outset, Thorson noted, and is one of a trio of SHS athletes who compete with a club team in Port Angeles.
Four swimmers are new to the squad.
“Some are learning the strokes,” Feser said, adding that a team goal is improving each week.
“The biggest thing is, they work hard,” Thorson said.
“And they are very supportive of each other,” Feser added.
Thorson is back to help coach the team after two seasons away. She led the Wolves in a full 2019 season and abbreviated 2020-2021 campaign.
Wolves win opener
Sequim splashed Olympic League foe East Jefferson 86-75 on Sept. 13 at the YMCA of Sequim in the Wolves’ season-opener — a 20-point improvement over SHS’s 2022 season-opening loss to the Rivals. In the process, Sequim earned seven individual district meet-qualifying marks.
Ava Shinkle won her first high school individual competition with ease, finishing the 200 IM in 2:38.02. She added a win in the 100 butterfly (1:12.54). Both swims earned the freshman a spot at districts.
Melia Nelson also earned a pair of district qualifying swims, winning the 200 free in 2:15.13 and placing second in the 100 butterfly (1:17.06).
Annie Ellefson won the 100 free by nearly 10 seconds, finishing in 1:01.91. She added a big win in the 100 breaststroke, finishing in 1:18.76. Both of her swims are district qualifiers.
Natalie Cross won the 500 free with a 6:26.77 time, a district meet qualifer, while teammate Selina Meyer took first in the 50 free with a 31.18 finish
The Wolves also picked up wins in the 200 medley relay (2:13.46) and 200 free relay (1:58.22), behind strong efforts from Cross, Ellefson, Nelson and Shinkle.
Serena Hanby-Peerless earned East Jefferson’s lone individual win, taking the backstroke in 1:17.
The Wolves host Kingston on Sept. 20 and Bremerton on Sept. 27.
Fall sports preview: SHS girls swimming
Head coaches: Cherise Fezer, Sarah Thorson
2022 record: 12th at West Central District meet; two relays, one athlete (two events) to state 2A meet
Returning swimmers: Annie Ellefson (so.), Melia Nelson (jr.), Natalie Cross (sr.), Addison Long (jr.), Keira Morey (jr.), Naomi Beglyakov (so.), Kate Brouillard (so.), Tricia Day (jr.), Selina Meyer (so.), Violet Phillips (so.)
Newcomers: Ava Shinkle (fr.), Brooklyn Snyder (fr.), Sophia Lawson (so.), Ginger Hiatt (jr.)