NEWPORT — There is a certain level of performance that the Newport Cubs swim team is accustomed to.
After back-to-back state championships for the boys and a steady and exciting climb for the girls team over the past few years, more specifically under the watch of head coach Angie Sremba, the Cubs have the rest of Lincoln County looking up.
But Newport, like many teams this season, has dealt with a constant cloud of injuries.
Sremba remarked in early January during a swim meet at Taft that the Cubs were just starting to get healthy. Fast forward a month and Newport have once again, shown just how well they can perform in the pool.
The Cubs recently took first for the boys and second for the girls in Taft’s Last Chance swim meet. Their efforts earlier this month are just a small example of the large body of work and success the Cubs have had over the last few years.
“It has been a tough year with illness, especially early in the season. We were not able to compete with our full roster until January,” Sremba said. “This has made this season different as we have not had as much practice competing as a team, however, this January we had several very strong meets and I am excited to see the team perform at districts.”
Newport will get its chance on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15, at home in the district swim meet. And despite the Cubs lack of numbers compared to last season, they expect the back-to-back state champion boys and the girls, who have the talent to make a run at a state title this year, to give it their all, as is always the case for the Cubs.
“Our team is very competitive at the district and state level. We have been working this year on strengthening our team depth,” Sremba said. “We are a much smaller team this year than we have been the past several years, but the team has really come together in practice and at meets in the past couple of weeks.”
The boys have a chance to bring home their ninth district championship and the girl's have a chance to break history as they could clinch their first district title this season. The boys team has won eight consecutive 4A-3 league titles in as many years, including state distinctions.
Newport had a third-place finish in 2017, two second-place finishes in 2013 and 2014 and, finally, back-to-back state championships in 2018 and 2019.
The girls team rose from the bottom half of the yearly standings to become a strong contender in the 4A-3 Oregon West Conference. They’ve finished second place for the last four years in a row, becoming a powerhouse in their own right.
“We will see what the competition looks like, but both teams have the opportunity to take the district title,” Sremba said.
Confidence isn’t something that just goes away. The fire and will to win is forged every day in practice and at each event the team travels to. The idea of hard work and teamwork keep the Cubs afloat.
Sremba and her staff are coaches first and foremost, but the Cubs connection in the pool brings out the best in each other.
“We, as coaches, lead the practices but it is the teamwork dynamic that really elevates the practices. We have been talking a lot this season about how important each member of the team is for the success of the team in our final meets,” Sremba said.
“The team is led by strong captains displaying dedication and hard work, leading by example with a lot of focus in the pool. We also have a very diverse and talented group of athletes that make up the team. It is our strength in numbers that has led to the current success of both the boys and girls swim team.”
The Newport Cubs will host the district swim meet Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15, at the Newport Aquatic Center and follow up the next weekend with the State Championship swim meet at the Tualatin Hills Sports Complex in Beaverton