Sports

Hazen swim team just keeps growing | Boys swim & dive

Hazen’s Corbin Kozai swims at the Seamount League swim & dive meet Feb. 5. Hazen took third at the meet and the vast majority of Highlanders made personal bests. - Adam McFadden/Renton Reporter
Hazen’s Corbin Kozai swims at the Seamount League swim & dive meet Feb. 5. Hazen took third at the meet and the vast majority of Highlanders made personal bests.
— image credit: Adam McFadden/Renton Reporter

While many teams around Renton struggle for numbers, one team stands in stark contrast: Hazen swim and dive.

The Highlanders have a history of huge numbers in both boys and girls swim, but this year’s team takes the cake at 76.

Hazen head swim coach Diane Dobson isn’t out actively recruiting swimmers to the team; it just grows by itself.

“It’s the success of the team feeding on itself,” she said. “It keeps getting bigger and this is probably the strongest team I’ve coached.”

The team has depth in veterans, with Nathan Tat, Tommy Truong, Emoniel Isakharov, Corbin Kozai and Alex Klemetsen leading the way.

Tat recently won two league titles and took two top-three placings at districts.

“Tat is swimming phenomenally this year,” Dobson said. “He still hasn’t reached his peak.”

Dobson said about 30 of the swimmers are freshmen, meaning the team has plenty of youth to sustain its size for years to come.

“They all want to succeed,” Dobson said. “A lot of them are coming to every single practice.”

The top competitor in the freshman class is Chase Onstot. Onstot finished fourth in the 200 freestyle and second in the 100 breast at districts Feb. 13. He was also part of two top-five Hazen relays.

Hazen finished third at the league meet and fifth at the district meet. Dobson said the league meet was the highlight of the season.

“Ninety-nine percent of the kids had their personal best times,” she said. “To me that was the pinnacle of the success this season... It was evidence of their hard work.”

Trouble could be looming next season as Lindbergh’s pool faces closure. No Lindbergh pool would mean Lindbergh would join Hazen and Renton as teams practicing at the Hazen pool. The crowded water could affect Hazen practice time. The Highlanders currently practice both in the morning and afternoon.

“We couldn’t feasibly have the same team size with the same practice opportunities we have now,” Dobson said.

Less practice time and a growing team would seem to leave Dobson at a crossroads, especially since she is fundamentally against making cuts to the team.

“I’d figure out a way to make it work,” Dobson said. “Swimming is a survival skill, not just a sport.”

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