The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

November 23, 2013

Swimmers ready to hit the water

FAIRMONT — Despite a rough preseason for Marion County swim teams, swimmers and coaches across the county are ready to get their season under way today.

North Marion and Fairmont Senior will travel to Elkins for the Autumn Invitational, while East Fairmont will wait until Dec. 17 to kick off its season. Each team is looking to overcome some early woes and has high expectations this season.

To start those woes, the three Marion County schools were without a pool for the better part of the preseason. The schools generally practice at the Feaster Center at Fairmont State University, but haven’t been able to swim there due to renovations at the center.

That hasn’t stopped them from training, though.

“It’s been chaotic,” said Fairmont Senior swim coach Michelle Bright. “We’re making the best of it, and the kids have been cooperating.”

Bright, along with the other coaches in the county, said that their kids have been doing many out-of-the-water exercises and lots of conditioning.

“We encourage them to condition at home,” North Marion coach Lisa Hayes said of the situation. “They really have to be dedicated and disciplined on their own to get where they want to go.”

Coaches have said that despite only getting two to three days a week at other local pools, they will be ready when the season starts.

Fairmont Senior is returning five boys and four girls who qualified for states last season and is looking for some of that same success.

“We have a lot of returners but not a lot of depth,” Bright said of the team’s outlook this season. “A lot of them have started early like in September, and it helps them to improve quicker to start the season.”

North Marion is also looking to repeat its success with a large team full of seniors.

“We have about 25 to 30 kids altogether,” Hayes said of the team’s size. “We’re hoping for a really good season. We have, I think, 15 seniors.

“I’m excited. We had some kids really doing a great job at the end of the year.”

The Huskies, though, will be a little shorthanded when the season kicks off at Elkins today.

“We don’t have many swimmers going for various reasons,” she said. “Some were sick to start the season and didn’t get the number of practices that they needed to go.”

While North is having those issues on an individual level, East Fairmont is having them on a team level.

The Bees will not be starting their season today because the team wasn’t able to get enough practices in before the first meet. New coach Nathan Dillon doesn’t think that’ll be a problem, though, because they have a solid schedule ahead of them.

“We’ve got a couple of girls that qualified for states last year and some strong boys returning,” Dillon said. “A lot of our kids swim for clubs, and they’ve been going for a while. They won’t be cold when we start.”

When East begins its season, it will be a weekend that consists of two matches, with the first being a tri-meet at Elkins and the second being the next day at West Virginia University, where the state meet will be held this season.

Even though the teams have had limited practice, the general consensus still predicts a lot of excitement and success for the teams this season.

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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