WENATCHEE — The second of the two big meets put on by Velocity Swimming each summer is happening this weekend. The Starlight Open will welcome 380 swimmers from around the Pacific Northwest on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Wenatchee City Pool.
Velocity Swimming also puts on the Apple Capital Swim Meet, which took place at the end of May in Wenatchee.
“We’re a little bigger this year, so that’s good. We have about 40 more swimmers. The meet is smaller and shorter than Apple Capital, so it’s a little more intimate,” said Velocity Swimming Head Coach John Pringle.
Camping by the swim teams in the park adjacent to the pool is a big thing at Apple Capital, but not for Starlight. Pringle said they have to pay for security when swimmers camp in the park, which increases their costs significantly.
“We elect not to do it. Plus, with the weather being unpredictable,” Pringle said. “We’ve had highs in the 100s before. We don’t want to deal with those heat emergencies in the park. It’s more of a hotel oriented swim meet.”
Temperatures are predicted to be pretty mild this weekend, with highs in the upper 70s and low 80s. As long as there is no wind, everything is good, he said.
“If the wind picks up, especially in the morning, it is not good. We’re also looking at possible thunderstorm activity. That will put the meet on hold for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. We could do without that,” Pringle said. “Hopefully, the thunder stays away.”
The event is named Starlight allegedly because they used to show a movie in the park after the meet. Nowadays, with the advent of technology, most swimmers have their own entertainment via free wifi.
Attending the meet will be a lot of teams from Pacific Northwest Swimming, but also some area teams like from Spokane. Bainbridge Island and Gold Aquatics are two of the biggest teams attending along with Chinook from Mercer Island.
Pringle feels they will match up better at this meet than they did against Bellevue and Seattle Metropolitan at the Apple Capital Meet. The competition is not lower, he said, but just not as deep.
The Velocity team should be right up there, he said. Bainbridge Island, a team that has become stronger of the years, is the favorite.
“They are our very good friends. They are actually here training with us this week. It’s more of friendly competition rather than a cutthroat kind of deal. That is not how we are. It will be fun,” Pringle said. “The coach at Gold’s Aquatics is one of my former assistant managers when I was a pool manager in Snohomish. So we are good friends too. It’s just really a friendly situation all the way around.”
Among the highlight events, Pringle said the 50 free is always right up there as it is short and quick, providing a lot of excitement.
“The highlight of this meet really is our Coaches Relays, where the teams put in a relay of coaches, officials/board members. The kids all line up on the pool to cheer the coaches on. It’s a fun deal,” Pringle said.
While he may not swim to do to age and bad shoulders, Pringle said there are eight Velocity coaches so it’s all good.
One of the swimmers to watch out for is 14-year old Trenten Calloway. Pringle said he swam well at Apple Capital and Walla Walla more recently. Ben Madson had a big meet at the Apple Capital swimming as a 12-year old, finishing first in the 200 free and 200 IM, second in the 100 fly, 100 free, 50 fly, 50 free, 50 back and 100 breast. He was third in the 100 IM.
“He aged up so I’ll be curious to see how he does. He’s 13 now. He has to compete with some bigger, stronger boys. That will be interesting to see. He’s in that same field as Trenten Calloway. Trenten is just bigger and stronger,” Pringle said. “Ben is gutsy. He doesn’t take being aged up as a detriment. He looks at it as a challenge. He may just rise to the challenge and be great.”
On the girls’ side, Pringle said they have some college kids back for the summer, so he’s anxious to see how they do.
“Jordan Hartley has returned from New Mexico. I want to see how our training is helping this summer,” he said. “Jordan’s sister Sierra, a Wenatchee High School girl, has been doing really well in practice. I’ll be curious to see if that translates to some good swims this weekend.”
The Apple Capital and Starlight meets represent about 25 percent of the Velocity revenue for the year. About 50 percent comes from dues and another 25 percent from fundraising.
“That’s how we set up our budget. The swim meets are a big deal,” he said.
Events begin on Friday at 2 p.m. and continue Saturday and Sunday.