Wa-Hi boys swimmers look to have a blast

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WALLA WALLA — Katharine Curles leads the Wa-Hi boys swim team into another season with the Walla Walla Pentathlon Saturday at Whitman College’s Harvey Pool.

And this year, Curles has 48 team members to take into competition on the road to the state meet in Federal Way in February.

“Our season looks like it will be a blast!” Curles said with characteristic enthusiasm. “We lost some strong seniors last year, but have multiplied in size once again, and our returners have worked hard in the off-season, and they’re ready to go.”

The large turnout alone isn’t the Blue Devils’ only strength this season.

“It’s a huge team, but they are already showing incredible dedication, potential, and a strong desire to succeed,” Curles said. “They are swimming well, and I think our depth will be outstanding.”

Leading the way are team captains Patrick Giedeman and Josh Bumgarner.

“These guys will be relied on for their speed and consistency in all their events, particularly distance freestyle,” Curles said of compiling team points.

“Russell Skorina, Jayden Wallace and Tyler Jones will also be strong contenders for points among our returning squad. These boys have been competing year-round with our club team and put in the time to be great.

“Our two freshmen to watch will be Bryan Lopez-Vargas and Darian Corpus,” she said. “These two also have extensive club experience and will be very strong contenders this year.

“Other athletes to watch will be returners Wiley Townsend, Ryder Magnaghi, Eddie Kaminsky, Adan Gutierrez and George Lopez-Vargas,” Curles said. “These guys have been working hard in practice and put in a great amount of off-season work to be ready to pick up where they left off last season.

“Victor Mendes, Eric Cho and Joe McKiernan, all first-year Wa-Hi athletes, have also been really fun to watch in practice and they will bring great things to the table.”

Aside from Saturday’s Pentathlon, which begins at 11 a.m., the Blue Devils host five meets this season. Cheney comes to town Dec. 8, Prosser visits Dec. 15, Richland/Hanford are here Jan. 3, Pullman

swims at Whitman on Jan. 8, and Pendleton rounds out the home schedule on Jan. 15.

Wa-Hi heads to Selah on Dec. 13, travels to West Valley in Yakima on Jan. 19 and to Wenatchee on Jan. 26.

District competition is Feb. 1-2, with the state meet at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash., Feb. 14-16.

“With a squad of 48, there are bound to be some awesome surprises from new and returning swimmers alike,” Curles said of the season. “We have a lot of guys who have come over from other sports, such as baseball, football and cross country, and I am excited to see how they perform.

“It will be a great season filled with awesome stories of success and fun.”

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