Community Sports

Boys swimming: Gig Harbor, Peninsula off to 3-0 starts

Posted on December 22nd, 2022 By:

Gig Harbor and Peninsula got off to fast starts in the pool, with both winning their first three dual meets against no losses. Both teams are led by experienced, accomplished coaches.

Gig Harbor

Tides coach Mike Kelly is a former All-American swimmer at the University of Southern California and is entering his 22nd year at Gig Harbor. Kelly has coached numerous state champions with the Tides and won six of the last seven South Sound Conference team titles.

The Tides began the season with three straight blowout victories, over River Ridge (122-60), Central Kitsap (120-61) and Timberline (128-58).

Gig Harbor’s Grant Huston qualified for state and set a personal best in the 200 freestyle against Central Kitsap. Mike Kelly

Against River Ridge, Grant Huston won the 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. Emmett Scott won the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle. Ryan Nagata won the 200 individual medley, Wriley Savage won the diving event and Travis Scott won his first high school race, capturing the 500 freestyle. The Tides managed first and second place finishes in seven races.

Huston is one of the Tides’ top returners and a state performer last year. He comes from a swimming family. Older brother Drew won a 200 IM state title and set five school records last year.

Against Central Kitsap, Gig Harbor swimmers won the final 11 events of the meet after a Cougar won the first event, the 200 medley.

Huston provided a highlight for the Tides, winning the 200 freestyle in a Class 3A state-qualifying time of 1:47.05, a personal best.

Gig Harbor’s Scott brothers were both victorious — Emmett won the 50 free in 23.95 and younger brother Travis won the 200 IM in 2:15.06. Nagata won the 100 in 1:05.50. The Tides also got another fine aerial performance from Savage, who won his second diving event in a row.

Gig Harbor’s Ryan Nagata explodes from the blocks in a relay victory. Mike Kelly

The Tides won 10 of 12 events against Timberline, sweeping the top three spots in both the 50 and 100 freestyle. Kelly praised his other athletes for picking up several second- through fifth-place finishes, which help boost the team point total. The coach highlighted Andrew Brown, who finished fifth in the grueling 500 freestyle to earn his first varsity points for the team.


The Peninsula Seahawks are led by coach Tim Messersmith, who began swimming at 4 years old and spent much of the 50 years that followed in, around or under the water.

Messersmith swam and played water polo at the University of California-Riverside, where he earned a degree in history.

His coaching career included a stint at Redlands High in California, where he led the girls swimming team to a 55-2 record. He later coached at Port Angeles in Clallam County, developing a state champion relay team for the Roughriders.

He moved to the Gig Harbor area and got the opportunity to coach his kids, first as an assistant coach and later the head coach at Peninsula starting in 2017.

Twelve of the 22 members of the Peninsula swim team are sophomores.

Notable contributors this year include senior Hunter Hobbs, a contender for the state finals in the 200 IM and other events. He was a district champion in the 200 IM as a freshman.

Peninsula’s Hunter Hobbs could challenge school records in the backstroke, fly, and breaststroke according coach Tim Messersmith. Peninsula High School swimming

Sophomore Jonah Bergerson is trying to become an “iron Seahawk,” which means qualifying for districts in every individual event. He has already qualified in four of eight events.

Junior Ethan Berard, sophomore Aidan Miller and sophomore Tyler Givot join Hobbs and Bergerson to comprise most of the Seahawks’ relay teams.

Messersmith wants to win but also knows that coaches have to keep things fun.

“My favorite thing about coaching high school is seeing the joy in their faces when they achieve their goals,” he said. “All the work, time, effort, countless yards that they swim all comes together and they have great success in such a short season. When you have swimmers that are coachable, they can achieve anything. Helping kids to have a positive experience and one that they will remember is the most important part of being a coach.”

Peninsula sophomore Jonah Bergesron has already qualified for districts in four events. Tim Messersmith