Trio of seniors powering Oak Harbor swimming

The Oak Harbor girls swimming and diving team has a fair amount of top-end talent, but its record in dual meets has suffered somewhat because it doesn’t have a lot of depth.

The Wildcats (3-3 Wesco North) are firmly capable of scoring points at the Class 3A state meet, however. Oak Harbor is led by three accomplished seniors — Olivia Tungate, Jillian Pape and Taliah Black.

“They work hard and set a great example to the younger swimmers,” Oak Harbor coach Amy Merkley said. “They do what they have to do to be successful. The team isn’t shying away from challenges, and that’s because of our senior leadership. Because of our lack of depth, we’re not looking at winning a district title, but we want to push kids as far as they can go individually.”

Tungate, who has committed to swim at Washington State University, placed fourth in the 100-yard backstroke and ninth in the 100 freestyle at last year’s state meet. Pape took sixth in the 50 freestyle and 13th in the 100 butterfly. Tungate, Pape and Black combined to help the Wildcats finish sixth in the 200 medley event and 14th in the 200 free relay.

“Olivia is a powerhouse, especially in the backstroke,” Merkley said. “Jillian is a powerful sprinter, and Taliah is our No. 1 breaststroker.”

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