Pam Pack swimming continues work toward February

Published 6:47 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Any sport’s season can feel like a grind for a student-athlete. The work ethic in balancing school, practice, competing and a personal life is impressive itself. Finding success on top of it all is that much more remarkable.

Swimming season has been the most fruitful for Washington athletics in the past two years. The Pam Pack boys are the two-time defending 1-A/2-A state champions. The Lady Pack is experiencing a resurgence this season.

But with swim season comes a different set of hurdles to overcome. Seasons are generally broken down into three segments: non-conference play, conference play and playoffs. The 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference doesn’t have swimming, so Washington is looking toward February from the onset.

With the Christmas break coming up soon, coach Kaitlyn Richards sees that as an opportunity for a mental reset. February may seem like a while away now, but she knows that time will be a luxury once the New Year rolls around.

“We’re going to work. We’re going to work as hard as we can with the days we have left,” she said. “It’s time to figure out where we want to be for regionals. We need to figure out the times that we’re close to and press those times.”

Richards added that she will be expecting more from each squad now that they’re ending the second half of the season. This first half has been a learning process for her as much as anyone.

“I’ve learned a lot about their strengths and weaknesses,” said the first-year coach. “We’ve been able to work with them and get them where they need to be. We’re constantly improving and learning. They’re doing an awesome job.”

Richards feels like Washington is at the point where many of the specifics are settled on. Now the plan is to take each strength and develop it further.

“We’ve got the foundations down, for the most part. Now we’re working on endurance and speed,” she said. “They’re doing a great job just hanging with it and learning as I learn.”

There isn’t a conference for Washington to compete in, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t top-notch programs to swim against between now and February. The Pam Pack has already had meets with the likes of South Central and Conley.

“We definitely have a lot of competition,” Richards said. “We swam against Conley and had some of our best times so far. It was really great swimming against teams that push us.”

Washington will continue to take on the best competition it can find. Both teams will travel Wednesday for a meet against Havelock, New Bern, Rose and Croatan. The first meet of January will see Rose and South Central come to Washington.

This is all building toward the early-February regional-championship meet. The Pam Pack boys, despite having graduated some of their top swimmers, are on the prowl for a third-straight championship. The Lady Pack, on the other hand, is looking for tangible results to illustrate the strides already made this season.



Both the boys and girls excelled in Saturday’s meet with Christ Covenant and Jacksonville. For the boys, the team of Tristan Pake, Patrick Lovenberg, Taylor Myers and Hodges Tubaugh won the 200-yard medley relay. Braeden Beach, Myers, Tripp Pippin and Harrison Schmidt combined to win the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Washington — with the squad of Schmidt, Pake, Lovenberg and Tubaugh — also won the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Tubaugh and Schmidt placed first and second, respectively, in the 200-yard freestyle. Patrick Lovenberg and Pake placed atop the 200-yard individual medley. Beach and Pippin were first and second, respectively, in the 50-yard freestyle. Myers won the 100-yard butterfly.

Schmidt placed first in the 100-yard freestyle. Tubaugh and Ben Crawford finished atop the 500-yard freestyle. Washington had the top-four finishers in the 100-yard breaststroke.

The Lady Pack had a handful of top finishers, too. Tianna VanCura, Anna Yoder, Grayson Spruill and Claire Shepherd teamed up to win the 200-yard freestyle relay. Courtney Richards placed first in the 100-yard backstroke. The girls also had a bevy of other top-three finishes.