White Caps win finale

Published 6:59 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Washington White Caps swimmer Tristan Pake competes in the 8U 25-yard butterfly on Tuesday during the White Caps meet against Cherry Oaks Recreation center. The White Caps won 800-498 to clinch the GASSL regular season championship. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

The Washington White Caps capped off their Greenville Area Summer Swim League regular season with a thorough victory as they topped Cherry Oaks Recreation Center 800-498 on Tuesday at the Washington Racquet Club.
The win hands the White Caps a GASSL regular season championship and gives them a perfect 7-0 record as they head into the championship meet this Saturday.
“We haven’t won (the regular season title) in quite a few years so it feels good. These kids have worked very hard for it and they deserve it,” said White Caps coach Spencer Pake, who is also the Washington High School varsity swim coach.
Pake, along with assistant coaches and former Pam Pack swimmers, Tyler Kelly and Claire Baldwin, have worked with the 107-person roster that includes athletes ages 4-18-years old for five days a week since June.
“We divide the practices up into separate practices by ability level and I could not do it without my assistant coaches Tyler and Claire,” Pake said. “We put them into groups and we have seen them all improve greatly from June to August. I know it’s only two months but they all have come so far.”
The White Caps headed into Tuesday’s matchup knowing that they needed to win it to clinch the regular season title, and the swimmers stepped up to the challenge.
“They knew they had to win, we talked about it before the meet started,” Pake said. “I said, ‘this is it. You’ve been undefeated up to this point so let’s just go ahead and swim hard and finish.’”
The White Caps gave their coach a tremendous effort as they won 50 of the 65 races held on Tuesday, which included a record-setting performance by Kevin Andrews. Andrews swam a time of 29.75 in the 50-yard backstroke to set the new GASSL mark in the 11-12U division. (For complete results go www.gogassl.com.)
Spencer’s brother Scott founded the White Caps in 2001, and the team has come a long way in the last decade.
“I think we started with about 30 swimmers, maybe 20, and now we’re up to 107,” Pake said. “More and more are coming out to work on stroke techniques and are getting faster and faster.
“Scott started in ’01 and it was up and running for about two years, and then I started coaching with him because the team was getting a little bigger and about five years ago he handed it off to me.”
For Pake, the program has paid off twofold as he has not only had success in the GASSL, but also as the head coach of the Pam Pack where a lot of his swimmers have come up through the ranks and flourished. This past season Pake’s Pam Pack turned in a historic performance as both the boys and girls teams finished in the top 10 in the state.
“This year we had the most amount of kids reach state,” Pake said. “The girls placed third in the region and the both the girls and boys placed in the top 10 in the state and that’s the first time we have done that and next year we have even more talent coming up.”