Time for some rebuilding in the water — in and around the pool — for the Seaside swim program.
After a more than a monthlong closure, the Seaside pool has been re-filled, with water and swimmers, and the Gulls are ready to go for the 2019-20 season.
The Sunset Pool was officially reopened Nov. 25.
The closure came after the learner pool failed to comply with an Oregon Health Authority code for public water systems, leading to the possibility of cross contamination between the learner pool and main pool.
The first official day of winter sports practice was Nov. 18, which left the Seaside swim team without a home pool for the first week. Instead, the Gulls held some practices at the Astoria Aquatic Center (what are friendly rivals for?) and did some conditioning.
The pool has been upgraded with underwater lighting and the entire filtration system for the lap pool was replaced, allowing the district to keep a cleaner and more efficient body of water. The project work was estimated at $90,000.
Meanwhile, Seaside swim coach Shane Spell is handling the rebuilding job for the Gulls.
Seaside has 15 new swimmers in the program, “and the whole team has been working hard for a big season,” Spell said. “They handled the first week without a home pool really well, getting some dry land work in and a couple of practices in at Astoria Aquatic Center, and have really taken advantage of being back in the home pool and getting ready for our first meet (Dec. 7).”
Despite their fourth place team finish in the district meet last season, the Seaside girls still had their share of success and state qualifiers.
The Gulls' foursome of Kendy Lin, Kaisa Liljenwall, Anna Huddleston and Nicole Blankenhorn highlighted Seaside's meet by winning the 200-yard freestyle relay in a season-best 1 minute, 52.46 seconds — which they trimmed to 1:50.21 in the preliminaries at state.
Lin also qualified for the state meet with her fourth-place time (1:07.87) in the 100-yard backstroke. Lin did not qualify for the finals at state, but did set a personal best time of 1:06.63 in the backstroke.
Lin and Huddleston will be among those who will be missed this season. Liljenwall (a student at Warrenton High School) and Blankenhorn both return.
“We graduated nine seniors last year, including state qualifiers Kendy Lin and Anna Huddleston,” Spell said. “Big shoes to fill.”
The Seaside boys have 21 swimmers on the pre-season roster, with just two seniors. The Lady Gulls have 13 swimmers, with three seniors.
“We had a good group of sophomore guys swimming most of the off-season, so that should really help their progress,” Spell said. “Tons of potential this year. We just need to make every practice count.”
The swimmers, Spell said, “are pushing each other, and we'll just see what happens as the season kicks off and we aim towards districts (Feb. 14-15 at Newport) and then getting swimmers to state,” the following weekend at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center.