E-W working to book return trip to state

  • By David Pan Enterprise sports editor
  • Friday, November 30, 2007 3:01pm

Two state returners lead an Edmonds-Woodway boys swim team that could be among the Western Conference South Division’s top teams.

Senior Nate Stoll and junior Michael Stepenski were two members of the 200 freestyle team that finished 11th at last season’s Class 4A state championships.

“I think the 200 freestyle relay will definitely be a good one to watch,” said first-year coach Kate Trettevik, who also coaches the Warriors girls swim team.

The 200 medley relay team also could be strong, she added.

Top candidates for the relays include sophomore Ali Abadi, a newcomer to the team, and sophomore Michael Lesaca.

Abadi is a well-rounded swimmer who actually was pushing Stoll in the freestyles.

“It’ll be interesting to watch the two of them,” Trettevik said.

Lesaca also is a strong freestyle and butterfly swimmer. Sophomore Mason Hughes and senior Daniel Kissinger also are among the team’s faster swimmers.

“We’ll juggle those guys around,” Trettevik said. “All of them are pretty good at all four strokes. It’s probably just going to get getting the right combinations at the right time.”

Stoll is confident the Warriors will be able to find the right people for the relays.

“There’s a lot of new good talent on the team,” Stoll said.

Stoll also advanced in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, finishing 16th overall in the former event. Stoll had a bad start in the 50 freestyle. He wasn’t expecting much out of the 100 backstroke since the 200 freestyle relay was right before that event.

For Stepenski, his first appearance at the state championships was an eye-opening experience. The only event Stepenski, a baseball and tennis player, swam in was the 200 freestyle relay.

“It was really exciting,” he said. “I was kind of nervous being a sophomore, but basically I just tried to focus on the one swim.”

Stepenski likely will focus on the 50 and 100 freestyles. He admits that the freestyle is his only strong stroke.

“I’m not a very good long distance swimmer,” Stepenski said. “I only got about a minute of fast swimming in me.”

During the summer Stepenski swims for a Yost Pool rec team. Otherwise his time is occupied with tennis in the fall and baseball in the spring.

Swimming was initially a way to stay in shape for baseball.

“It’s good for the arms,” Stepenski said. “I pitch. It keeps me in good shape and it keeps me active between sports, so I don’t get lazy and lose my work ethic.”

Trettevik also coaches the Mountlake Terrace team as part of the district’s co-op program. The Hawks have nine individuals out this season, about double last year’s numbers. Trettevik is a 1997 graduate of Mountlake Terrace High School.

The Hawks’ top returners include seniors Spenser Milner and Brett Somers, both of whom are solid freestyles, Trettevik said.

Both Edmonds-Woodway and Mountlake Terrace have seen an influx of relatively young swimmers whose main experience is the freestyle.

“There are a lot of beginners that we’ll be working with both teams,” Trettevik said. “Some of the boys don’t know how to do any other stroke than freestyle. After a season or two, they’ll get everything down and we’ll have a lot more depth.”

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