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Twin sisters find success with Marlins
The Mighty Marlins Swim Club has a record of success.
Last month, the team took second place out of 12 teams at Port Orchard, and sixth out of 40 teams in a Pacific Coast competition.
Two Arlington girls have helped contribute a great deal to the Marlins' success 14-year-old twins Jennifer and Michelle Domanowski. It turns out that the girls have a talent for the same events, preferring the butterfly and individual medleys, even though they'd rather not compete against each other.
"Sometimes it's kind of frustrating when one person is better at something than another, but we get through it," Michelle explained of their sibling rivalry.
"We're really competitive," said Jennifer, who holds 19 Marlins records in her 13-14 age group, 10 short course and nine long course. Michelle shares several team relay records with her sister.
The two tried gymnastics and soccer, but neither sport stuck like swimming, which they took up out of survival swimming classes. The girls joined the Marlins at seven and have competed on the team every season since they were nine. Their younger sister Christina, 9, has followed them into the Marlins program and even competed with them at Port Orchard.
But despite all their success with the Marlins, Jennifer and Michelle won't be helping their high school team to the same heights of success next fall when they join the freshmen class at Arlington High School.
Arlington doesn't have a swimming pool.
To some extent, the decision was a conscious decision by the girls. While they could have transferred to nearby schools with swimming programs like Stanwood or Marysville, they opted to stay home.
"Arlington's a pretty good school, so we didn't want to move," Jennifer said.
"All our friends are there too," added Michelle.
While, some years ago, Arlington used to see swimmers join Stanwood for the swimming season, that tradition has ebbed for practical purposes. Arlington is too large a school for another school to accommodate all their prospective swimmers. Although swimming is not a cut sport, a talented class of out-of-town swimmers could deny opportunities to the home team.
However, Marlins coach Kirby Schlauffer isn't worried about the girls getting recognized for their accomplishments.
"A lot of really serious swimmers don't swim for their high school, swimming club only," he said.
And in the meantime, the girls just cherish the relationships they've made on the Marlins squad. Michelle, who is less outgoing than Jennifer, said the warm team environment helped her come out of her shell.
"It's like a second family here, we're so tight," Jennifer added of the team encompassing kids ranging from elementary school age to high school, plus older siblings and even some parents. "We seem like a bunch of goofs, but it takes a lot of hard work.