Dawson Allen has gotten a taste of the Class 4A state swim meet finals as part of relay teams.
This year, in his senior season, he wants to experience the finals as an individual swimmer. Allen took 19th in the 200-yard freestyle event at state and 15th in the 200 individual medley.
“I’ve been working a lot on the (freestyle),” Allen said. “I really want to make it to finals this year.”
He’s also working on dropping time in the 500 and 100 free. Gig Harbor placed in the top eight at state in both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
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“We want to get faster in the sprints,” Allen said.
While Gig Harbor usually wins the Class 4A Narrows title, it could be a tougher task this year with a smaller, younger team. It became clear in a 103-80 friendly-meet loss to Olympia to open this season that it won’t be a cakewalk for the Tides to win the Narrows this season. While the Tides were missing some key swimmers for the meet, it showed how competitive the league will be this season.
“The first meet of the season is always a great tool for examining the results of our training,” Gig Harbor coach Mike Kelly wrote in an email. “The results would indicate that we are on the correct path. Despite training pretty hard, the guys performed well, which resulted in many solid times.”
A few other key swimmers for the Tides are senior Griffin Doane and juniors Ryan Grady and Clay Curtis. Grady qualified for state in the 500 freestyle in the meet against Olympia, posting a time of 4 minutes, 59.13 seconds.
Allen understands it will be a decent challenge to win the league title this season.
“We lost a lot of swimmers,” he said. “We have a small team. It’s going to be harder to win swim meets. We have a lot of new kids this year. The coaches are working hard to get them in shape. We still have a chance to win league as long as everyone works hard and gives it their best.”
Kelly’s teams generally win the Narrows, or at least compete for the title. This year’s group should be no different.
“(Kelly) looks for hard work, and he rewards that,” Allen said. “He always pushes you to do your best. Every practice, he’s expecting 100 percent out of you.”