By Ashley Lodato

Despite having only three practices (fewer, for some kids) under their belts, about 20 Methow Valley Killer Whales competed in the Okanogan Pentathlon on Saturday. The pentathlon is comprised of five events: freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke and an individual medley consisting of one length of each of those same four strokes.

Many of the kids were pretty nervous before the meet. Some of them hadn’t practiced a butterfly or a dive off the blocks yet this season. Others were intimidated by the thought that the other teams in the county had a head start on practices for the season (not to mention a conveniently located pool). But once they got their suits and caps on, and got their race numbers written on their arms, somehow the whole swim meet scene came back to them and they hopped right in the pool and made a strong showing.

Typically at a county swim meet there are several heats consisting almost entirely of Methow Valley swimmers, almost guaranteeing that each heat winner will be a Killer Whale. Not so this meet, with so few swimmers in each age group. In a great number of heats, however, there was still a Killer Whale finishing first. The team may be small this year due to logistical complications, but they’re still mighty. And with the season only barely underway, there still remain quite a few meets for the swimmers to prove their prowess.

I listen to a podcast called “Working,” which features the daily work routines of people in different professions. Sunday’s episode featured the director of presidential correspondence — the woman who is responsible for a team of people who read President Obama’s mail and select 10 pieces of mail each day for him to read (after the letters have gone through a security screening by the Secret Service). The 10 pieces of mail must be representative of the general tone of the main issues addressed in other letters (for example, if 50 percent of the people are writing about gun control, then about half of the 10 pieces of mail must be letters on that topic representing both sides of the issue).

There were other interesting bits of information about how the 10 pieces of mail are selected (geographical diversity, style, etc.), but mostly I was listening for the mail director to start telling us about this artist out in rural Washington who is bombarding the president with mail about the vanishing ice in the Arctic through his Polar Bear Postcard Project (visit http://www.methowvalleynews.com/2015/10/29/winthrop-oct-28-2015/ for more information). The episode ended before Erik Brooks’ postcard avalanche was mentioned, but I am optimistic that one of those cards will be in the president’s hands before the end of his term.

PREVIOUSLY, IN WINTHROP

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