This weekend is making me a reminisce a little.
Fourteen years ago I started covering swimming on the peninsula,
just about the time that the sport really started gaining ground
and national recognition thanks to a handful of swimmers from
Bremerton and Bainbridge.
Those swimmers included breaststroker Tara Kirk, sister and
butterflyer Dana Kirk of Bremerton, Helen Silver, backstroke, and
sister Emily Silver, freestyle, of Bainbridge Island and
Bremerton’s Justin Adrian, fly/free and eventually his brother
It was an exciting time as I was able to travel to California
for a week where the Kirks were attending Stanford and Helen Silver
was at California, and we ran that story when I came
back. The following year in 2004 we went to Long Beach for the U.S.
Olympic Trials and watched as both Tara and Dana made the Olympic
team — the first time sisters had made the same team in USA
Swimming history. The Silvers and Justin competed as well so there
was a lot for one hometown reporter to cover. I distinctly remember
Justin being so stoked to swim in the final of the 100 butterfly, a
race won by Michael Phelps, before he officially called it the end
of his career.
After the Kirks made the team it wasn’t long before I received a
call from our editor at the time to let me know that the paper was
going to send myself and a photographer to Athens to cover the
Olympics. I’ll never forget my two weeks there as we tried to cover
the world’s biggest sporting spectacle from the outside looking in.
Because we didn’t have full credentials we spent a lot of time with
the Kirks’ parents, Jeff and Margaret, as they toured Athens, the
Acropolis and went to beach parties and such.
We did manage to find our way into one swimming event, Tara’s
100 breaststroke final, and that was thrilling. She lead
after the first 50 meters and I remember sitting in the stands, my
photographer trying to shoot from the stands (yes, we weren’t
supposed to) and thinking that ‘I’m watching the Olympics and our
hometown swimmer is trying to win a medal.’ Surreal.
Jumping ahead to Saturday, it’s been great seeing Dana competing
at the U.S. Masters Spring National Championships at Santa Clara,
Calif. She gave the U.S. trials one more shot in 2012 (good for her
as a back injury curtailed her career far too soon) and now that
she’s coaching I’m sure it’s also been fun to get back into the
Dana won the 100-yard individual medley in the 25-29 age
category in 57.75 seconds. She also finished third in the 100 free
Nathan continues to be the best American sprinter. He won the 100 free in the 25-29 age category
in a national age-group record of 41.08, besting the previous time
of Darian Townsend’s mark of 42.13 from last Dec. Townsend finished
second in Saturday’s race in 43.13. That means Nathan won by almost
two seconds. Wow. The time also tied his American record.
Dana has one more race Sunday and I’ll post another update
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