Vashon Seals swim though a successful season, dive into winter training

David Nguyen, 13, swims in a race at a recent meet.  - Ric Peterson Photo Ric Peterson Photo Ric Peterson Photo
David Nguyen, 13, swims in a race at a recent meet.
— image credit: Ric Peterson Photo Ric Peterson Photo Ric Peterson Photo

The Vashon Seals Swim Team recently wrapped up a strong fall season. Despite the team’s small size and limited practice facilities, the Seals have formed a solid backbone of older swimmers in recent years and have become a more formidable opponent at meets. Over four meets last season, the 45 swimmers competed in 382 swims. More than 50 percent of those swims resulted in personal best times for the athletes, and 73 percent of the swims resulted in a Silver, Gold or Champs time standard. In addition, new Seals team records were set 36 times throughout the season.

The Seals began the season with a fourth-place finish in the October Challenge at Mount Tahoma High School. High point scorers at the meet were Jeremiah Bogaard, 9, and Maia Cunningham, 12. Cunningham also won the Brucey, a team award given to the swimmer with the most overall time improvement each meet. The high point scorer for the 13-and-older age group was Hannah Cunningham. New Pacific Northwest Swimming (PNS) Champs time standards were met by Bogaard in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke and Maia Cunningham in the 100- and  200-yard breaststroke and the 50-yard backstroke.

In November the Seals competed in the Q Meet at the world-class King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Maia Cunningham was again a high point scorer, as was Sage Everett, 17. The Brucey award went to Elijah Dougher, 9. New PNS Champs time standards were met by Bogaard in the 50-yard breaststroke, Maia Cunningham in the 50-yard breaststroke and Dougher in the 100-yard backstroke.

The fall season concluded for most swimmers at the Divisional Champs at Olympic High School in Silverdale. High point scorers were Bogaard and Emily Milbrath, 12. The Brucey award went to Lola Lewis.

At the divisional competition, the 12-and-under swimmers competed in the Pentathlon, which consisted of 50 meters of each stroke plus the 100-yard individual medley. Bogaard and Connor van Egmond, 11, both took first in their age divisions, and both were repeat winners from last year. Max Gross Shader, Jacob Gold and Diego Gray-Wishik finished second, third and fourth in the 12- year-old boys division.

Bogaard and Maia Cunningham wrapped up the season in December back at the King County Aquatic Center, where they represented Vashon at the 14-and-under PNS Champs meet. Bogaard competed in four events, and Cunningham in five. Both swimmers dropped tremendous amounts of time in events they swam just weeks before. They now hope to qualify for  the Northwest Region Age Group Championships in March, where swimmers from seven states will compete.

Head coach Lisa MacLeod said that during the fall she was consistently impressed with the Vashon swimmers.

“Given our limited resources here on the Island, we continue to produce swimmers who can compete with the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer,” she said. “Our focus on working to your personal best allows for success at every level, whether it is a competitive swimmer working towards a championship time or a developmental swimmer working on their stroke technique.”

The Seals have resumed training, and swimmers are aiming for qualification in the August PNS Championships. Four Seals will compete at the Age Group Invitational this Sunday in Seattle; then the following weekend the whole team will travel to a meet in Silverdale. For more information on the Seals, see


— Randy Turner is a Vashon Seals coach.


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