WENATCHEE — It has been a stellar start to the season for the Wenatchee girls’ swim team. The season has just begun and already the girls have achieved state qualifying times in seven events, which is absolutely amazing. It all happened at the Wenatchee Invite last Saturday.

“In terms of the early season meets we’ve had, this has to be one of the most successful we’ve had in terms of the number of state times and good competing across the board. The girls were pretty darn aggressive,” said Wenatchee Head Coach James Elwyn. “You never know if they are ready for something like that until they do it. Between Thursday and Saturday, we got up to seven state times. I don’t know if we've ever had that many this early in the season.”

Both the Dressel girls are off to fantastic starts. Rae Ann and Brooklyn have both made state times in the 50 freestyle. Brooklyn made the state time in the 100 and 200 freestyle. Rae Ann made state in the 100 breaststroke.

“Brooklyn’s time of 52.97 in the 100 free was a little more than a second off the school record and her fastest ever,” Elwyn said. “You don’t expect to see that on the first go-round of the year, so that is pretty cool to have a great race like that to start the year.”

The 200 Medley Relay team of Haily Payne, Sophie Black, Sierra Hartley and Rae Ann Dressel made state qualifying time at 1:50.70. The 200 Free Relay team of Brooklyn Dressel, Kathryn Gyde, Abby Wilt and Rae Ann Dressel also made state time.

Haily Payne won the 100 Butterfly in state qualifying time. In Diving, Wenatchee’s Emily Brault and Berkeley Finegold took the top spots.

Elwyn said seeing the girls make all these state times so early makes him scratch his head a bit since they haven’t done anything different this year. So what can you attribute this to?

“I think the girls are excited and know good things are in store for them. There is a general feeling we can achieve great things this year,” he said.

Certainly, the atmosphere at the meet helped push the girls to new heights.

“When you host that meet, it’s always kind of a fun thing because it’s the most people they will have in a pool until state. Our meet was louder than districts and had a bigger feel to it than any of our dual meets during the year,” Elwyn said. “It definitely provides you with a little more excitement.”

Another amazing part about all these great swim times is the girls were not wearing tech suits. These are suits that cost $300-$400 which repel water better than human skin. They also provide compression to make you go through the water in a more streamlined fashion.

These suits have had a huge impact on the sport over the past decade.

“Not wearing those and having all those times is pretty amazing. When we’ve had a similar number of times early, we’ve had kids wearing those things,” he said. “You wear them at the big meets and certainly at state. Getting the times this early liberates you from using them until then.”

Getting those state times so early in the season can have a down side. It does liberate you from the stress of needing that time, but it can also create some problems if you remove that impetus for performance, Elwyn said.

“You have to find other ways to get it back,” he said. “The pressure often leads to good things, but with no pressure, it could lead you in the wrong direction. That will be one of our things. We have to figure out how to get the edge back should we lose it.”

Elwyn said they still need to achieve the state qualifying time in the 400 Free Relay. They were only 1.44 off that time on Saturday. That team consists of Brooklyn Dressel, Sierra Hartley, Sydney Lenssen and Sophie Black.

Next up for Wenatchee, a dual meet at Moses Lake on Thursday. On Saturday, they swim at the Mid-Columbia Invite in the Tri-Cities for the first time. There will be 10-12 teams there.

Ian Dunn: 664-7157

dunn@wenatcheeworld.com