Torpedoes prepare for comeback

Aiden Martinez splash-lands into the pool to join his friends AJ Burks and David Greene during the eighth-grade graduation celebration party the last day of school, June 8. The Tonasket Community Pool opens to the public tomorrow, June 14.

TONASKET — The Tonasket Torpedoes are jetting back into action with a swim team this summer, for the first time since the pool closed in 2010.

“We are new at this, but we are just diving in,” said Tonasket Swim Team Coach Emily Bjelland, a teacher for Tonasket School District who competed at the state level in high school before going back to coach the team during her college years. “I’ve been here (Tonasket) six years, and I am really excited to have a pool this year.”

Registration forms (available at city hall) and fees for the swim team are due Monday, June 18. Parents are asked to bring the forms and their kids to the pool between 8 and 9:30 a.m. that day for a swim test to show their ability to tread water for 30 seconds and swim the entire length of the pool. The test takes about 15 minutes.

Kids will need to have an AAU card filed before they can get in the pool with the team. AAU cards can be purchased online at joinaau/membershipapplication. The AAU membership year runs from September 1 through August 31. If your child already has an AAU card from another sport, just bring that.

A concussion information sheet included in the registration packet must also be signed and turned in.

Any volunteer helpers are welcome and needed. Bjelland said she was hoping to find a volunteer interested or experienced in event coordinating and managing fees. “If that is your forte, please contact me because right now it is a one-man show,” said Bjelland. “Any help is needed so we can hit the ground running with the goal to be set up as a team next year.” The fee covers pool rental and equipment such as kick boards. “We’re hoping to build a cash reserve to pay league fees for next year,” said Bjelland.

The team did not form in time to be included in league competitions this year, but Bjelland said she is working with area teams to coordinate some non-league competitions.

Bjelland set time aside Friday, June 15 to test kids in the pool who will be on a class trip to Washington, D.C. June 18.

The swim team season will run from June 19 to July 27.

More advanced swimmers will begin practice at 7:45 a.m. with a dryland workout. Bjelland told parents and swimmers not to feel bad about the early role call, as Omak's team practices at 5:45 a.m. A second practice for less experienced swimmers will run from 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Oroville students are welcome to join the Tonasket Torpedoes, and invited to show up June 18 for the swim test.

Bjelland said a lap swim is scheduled from 7 to 8 a.m. daily, and if there's enough interest in the community, she could coach a master’s swim team for people over 18.

Bjelland can be reached at 509-322-6238 or

Stephan Sacchi, also a TSD teacher and coach, is the new pool manager. “We will be open quite a few more hours this year,” said Sacchi.

Kids can still be registered for swim lessons at the pool, which cost $45 for a two-week session. Sacchi said the schedule is still being worked out, but he plans on having three sessions in the morning and one in the evening.

Lifeguards returning from last year are Cassidy Caddy, Tylee Caddy, Madeleine Larson and Taylon Pilkinton. New this year are lifeguards Brooklyn Ward, Grace Cory, Maisie Ramon, Nyles Aguilar and Anna McCollough.

The Tonasket Municipal Pool will be open Monday through Friday with an adult lap swim from 7-8 a.m., swim team practice 8-9:30 a.m., swim lessons 9:45 a.m. to 12 p.m., noon to 1 p.m. adult lap swim/parents and tots, 1 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. public swim, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. lap swim adults only. Additional family swim time is scheduled for Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 8 p.m. Saturday is public swim from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday the pool is closed, except for pool rentals.

For information on the Omak Manta Rays swim team, click here.

The Okanogan Bullfrogs' contact information can be found here.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.