BHS’ Woolnough kicks to district swim championships

Woolnough -
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With the district swim championships beginning today, Bremerton’s hopes rest in the stroke of Erin Woolnough.

The freshman club swimmer is the lone Lady Knight to advance to districts, qualifying in the 100-meter backstroke as well as the 500 freestyle.

“She’s done pretty well as a swimmer. She’s a little bit off some of the times she’s done in club,” said coach Justin Adrian. “But most of all for Erin, she’s really evolved as a swimmer, as a person, as somebody that’s going to be contributing to the team.”

The 2009 team was comprised of just 12 athletes, meaning it’s up to swimmers such as Woolnough to anchor the efforts both now and in years to come. Woolnough, who started swimming in third grade, is off her club pace in both the 100 back and 500 free, but her times have steadily climbed over the course of the season.

Adrian, who didn’t provide exact times, said Woolnough is just under the 1-minute, 11.50-second qualifying standard in the 100 back and the 6:16 standard in the 500 free.

“This year it’s going to be tough, it’s kind of a long shot to make it to state,” Adrian said of Woolnough’s chances. “But just making it to districts and her opening her eyes and seeing what it’s about, going over to the other side of the water and seeing how it goes, hopefully she takes that experience, brings it back.”

The up-and-coming freshman said her favorite events are the 200 back and the 100 and 200 free. She participated in the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay, too, but the team’s lack of depth handcuffed Adrian options in terms of shuffling the lineup.

Woolnough’s confidence continues to grow, but it isn’t at the level she believes it needs to be.

“I need to actually believe that I can do something and then work towards doing that,” she said. “I’m usually like, “Oh, I can’t do that. That’s too hard.’”

“She’s afraid to push herself, but when she’s in a pretty decent race, she’ll push herself and really surprise herself,” Adrian added. “A lot of the girls are just afraid to be tired.”

Regardless of whether the state championships become reality this season, Woolnough is confident she can take the next step sooner rather than later. Her brother Mark, a junior, advanced to state as a sophomore and she’d like to follow suit.

“I’d like to be as fast as him — and faster — so I could rub it in his face,” she jokes. “But we don’t really compete like that.”

“She’s really evolved, really blossomed,” Adrian added. “It’s going to be good to watch her in the next few years coming up. I think she’s got a lot of potential.”

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