Swim coach brings new attitude to Vikings | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Swim coach brings new attitude to Vikings

Jeremy Evans

South Tahoe High first-year swimming coach Sara Urch thinks the Vikings have talent. Now she needs to convince her swimmers they have talent.

“To me, half of this battle is attitude,” Urch said. “I would like to improve team morale. We’ve got our work cut out for us. But if we can up the ante in our practices, I really do think we have a fighting chance to have an awesome season.”

If the season opener against Lowry was any indication, South Tahoe is well on its way.

Last Saturday, the Viking girls beat Lowry 128-100 and the boys beat Lowry 123-88. Against the Buckaroos, Natalie Turner took first in both the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, while Tim Powers led the boys by winning the 100 fly and 500 freestyle.

All three girls’ relay teams took first and two boys’ relay teams grabbed first-place finishes.

“The swimmers really came out swinging,” Urch said. “There was not one swimmer out there who didn’t have an outstanding swim and who didn’t give it all their heart and soul.”

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As the lone returning state tournament qualifiers in 2005, Turner and Powers are again expected to lead their respective teams. But the Vikings still have several swimmers who were among the top swimmers in Northern Nevada last year.

Lacey Payne, Dan Rabbetts and Greg Koeck all add depth to a South Tahoe squad that totals 28 members. In addition to Saye-Marie Pekar, all five of the swimmers listed above have been named captains for this season.

While six captains seems more than the traditional amount, Urch brings a level of enthusiasm to the program and wants her athletes to push each other. That desire stems from a decorated college career at Grinnell College, a Division III school in Iowa.

As a senior, she broke the school’s 16-year record in the 200 breaststroke (2 minutes, 33.02 seconds). In the mid-1990s, Urch was a South Tahoe High student for several years before transferring her junior year to a high school in Washington, where she graduated.

A law student at UCLA, Urch is taking time off from school and is helping Jerry Erickson coach at the Tahoe Swim Club. So when the coaching position opened at South Tahoe, she jumped at the opportunity.

“I was just overjoyed,” said Urch, who has been swimming since she was 5. “It’s a heck of a lot of work, but everyone has got the dedication to try and improve the program. It’s just really important for them to take ownership in making the team a success. So far, the kids are really enthusiastic. It’s a good group of kids.”