Evan Chard watched as his sister swam at the British Swimming Championship/Olympic Trials in April. Then again at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, in June.
He’s not to her state champion-level in the high school swimming world yet. But watching her continue to pursue her Olympic dream hits home all the same.
“It motivates me,” Evan said. “I’m hoping to go with her.”
Emma Chard, a 2014 Foss graduate, said she sees the same love she has for the sport in her younger brother, who is now a junior on the Wilson High School boys swimming team.
And she’d love to see Evan competing in the same pool as her in an Olympic trial someday.
“I think he enjoys the sport enough to know he’s capable of it, too,” Emma said. “It would be amazing if we were both there at the same time.”
Evan is fresh off a seventh-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley at last year’s 3A state championship meet. And he’s one of three returning state finishers for Wilson, alongside Chris Harkness and Sam Sachs. The three of them all return from Wilson’s state 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay teams last season.
It takes a lot of confidence to say you could outswim Emma Chard, who won a state title in the 100 free in 2013 and is in her junior year swimming at Boise State University.
Or, in Evan’s case, maybe just a lot of experience.
“It depends on the stroke,” Evan laughed. “She’s a better freestyler, but I could definitely beat her at the IM or the breaststroke.”
Even that, she said, would be a close race.
“But anything more than that, I could probably get him,” Emma said.
Evan started out swimming the 100-yard breaststroke for the Rams, but switched to the 100 backstroke last year and found his greatest success combining them for the 200 individual medley.
“Most people don’t have energy to do the whole thing without dying,” he said. “I like it because it involves backstroke and breaststroke at the same time, and they’re right next to each other.”
Wilson coach Don Higgins said that he works with each swimmer individually to find their best events.
“Their favorite event may not be their best,” he said. “With Evan, he’s right at the state time in (all three events), and he’s performing at the highest level, gauging it by where he stands with the competition.”
And Evan is still growing in the sport, Higgins added.
“On the outside, he doesn’t really show it,” he said. “He has a quiet confidence.”
Sachs, a senior co-captain, said Evan is a key member of the Rams’ relay teams. He swims the backstroke on the 200 medley and alternates between the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
“If we’re ever behind, he’ll pull us back in front,” said Sachs, who has been swimming with Evan for five years. “He’s a really good teammate.”
This season, Evan wants to convert that dexterity into higher placement at state. The junior, who also competes for Valley Aquatics, hopes that will attract the notice of college coaches.
“I’ve been doing this a long time,” he said. “Stopping now would be pointless, and I’m pretty good at it, so I want to continue.”
Maybe as far as his sister has gone.
SOUTH SOUND BOYS SWIMMING PRIMER
TEAM TO WATCH
Curtis returns Sam Abbott, the standout water polo player who placed third in the 100 freestyle and fifth in the 50 free at the 4A state swim meet last year, helping the Vikings place second as a team. Dan Melin and Matt Patterson also return, and there’s a few solid newcomers in Alex Hwang and Jorge Melendez. The question is, with a region that’s seen talent and participation fall the past couple of years, will Curtis get the competition it needs before state? “We are not going to see a ton of competition,” Curtis coach Dennis Poccolotto said. “Then all the sudden you get to state and you see kids who are super talented and you haven’t seen all year. Best thing going for us is that this isn’t our first year. They’ve been there before.”
SWIMMERS TO WATCH
Three-time water polo MVP and an all-league baseball player much stronger in the pool this year. Hit 46.88 in 100 free.
Placed seventh in the 200 IM last season and won district titles in that event and the 100 backstroke.
Placed sixth in the 100 breaststroke at state last year and “much faster this year,” said coach Kathy Casey.
Macabitas is the top returning placers in the 4A 100 backstroke, finishing fourth last season in 52.67 seconds.
Didn’t start diving before two years ago, then placed fifth at the 3A state last year. How will he fare in 4A?
RETURNING STATE PLACERS
Sam Abbott, Curtis, sr. (50 freestyle; 100 freestyle); Jack Davies, Kentridge, sr. (200 IM); Jason Gleason, South Kitsap, sr. (diving); Ben Hauswirth, Enumclaw, so. (diving – 3A); Dylan Macabitas, South Kitsap, sr. (200 freestyle, 100 backstroke); Reuben Madewell, Enumclaw, sr. (diving – 3A); Dan Melin, Curtis, sr. (100 backstroke); Rafael Rodriguez, Sumner, jr. (diving – 3A); Matthew Patterson, Curtis, sr. (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle)
Preston Bocchi, Lakes, sr. (100 backstroke); Evan Chard, Wilson, jr. (200 IM); Clay Curtis, Gig Harbor, sr. (500 freestyle – 4A); Chris Harkness, Wilson, sr. (500 freestyle); Moonsung Jung, Stadium, so. (500 freestyle – 4A); Sam Sachs, Wilson, sr. (200 IM); Zach Netzel, Shelton, sr. (diving); Tyler Nichols, Peninsula, sr. (diving); Dorien Simon, Lakes, so. (diving)
Noah Burlingame, Steilacoom, jr. (100 backstroke); Vaughn Christensen, Steilacoom, sr. (100 butterfly); Steven Froehle, Steilacoom, jr. (200 freestyle); Seth Koivisto, Steilacoom, sr. (200 IM, 100 breaststroke); Nicholas Malinowski, Steilacoom, jr. (diving); Christian Provost; River Ridge, junior (50 freestyle); Isaiah Ross, Washington, so. (200 IM, 500 freestyle); Lewis Wentler, Fife, so. (500 freestyle)
TJ Cotterill: email@example.com