With the state meet moving into view, the Winder-Barrow High School swim team will seek to finish strong and qualify for state or improve already established state times.
“The last two meets we have are some of the most exciting of the seasons,” Swim Dogg coach Jennifer Blevins said. “This Saturday, we swim at the Clarke-Oconee invitational.
This meet usually has over 30 schools and has some of the best swimmers in the area competing. UGA has a deep, cold, fast pool and some of the season’s fastest times are always turned in at this meet. This meet also provides all of the swimmers with one of two of their last chances to meet or lower a state qualifying time.”
WBHS will also compete at Westminster, which will be the last chance to meet state times.
“I love this meet,” Blevins said of the upcoming Westminster event. “It is like a mini-state meet. The best of metro Atlanta and beyond are there and the meet is run in a prelims and finals format. The goal is to make the finals in events. The meet is recorded and available to watch online. It is cool to go back and watch the races and listen to the commentary.
The boys 400 free relay team, consisting of Mitchell Buttler, Quinn McDaniels, Alex Hentenaar and Ian Hentenaar, will look to take first. Currently, the team’s time is listed in the state swim entry database as fourth in the state, behind only Westminster, Northview and Marist.
“I know for a fact that Westminster and Marist will be competing at the meet,” Blevins said. “I also know that the WBHS boys are going to be out to take that win and lower their time as they look to the state meet being the next time they will swim that race. I am very excited about that race and to see what the boys can do.”
Regardless of how these final regular season events turn out, Blevins said she is proud of what her swimmers have accomplished in 2012-2013.
“The swimmers have been consistently impressive with the personal bests and determination to improve,” she said. “Last week, even after the winter break, the times were dropping. Several kids worked hard over the break and that was obvious. The ones that couldn’t get in the water either improved a little or not at all.”
The WBHS swim program also had two middle school swimmers competing this season.
Bailey Brock and Hannah Smith are both in the eighth grade and will be eligible for varsity events next season.
Brock is a first-year swimmer and was a welcome addition to this year’s team, Blevins said.
“He came in worried about his abilities and if he would benefit from the experience,” Blevins said. “After some confidence boosting and reassurance that he could do it from several people, he finally decided to try it out. Totally new to the sport, Bailey quickly caught on and looked like an experienced swimmer. In his first meet, he exceeded any time expectations that I had for him. He continued to improve and set personal bests in every single meet. Bailey is hard working and very coachable. He asks what he can do to improve, he figures out what he needs to improve and takes constructive criticism to heart.”
Meanwhile Smith came in as an experienced year-round swimmer and remained the top girl for the entire Lady Bulldogg team.
In several meets, she finished in a position competitive with most of the other high school female swimmers.
“Hannah is a versatile swimmer and backstroke specialist,” Blevins said. “She swam on our fastest relays and we simply marked them exhibition so that she could swim on them. Swimming exhibition protects her high school eligibility, but meant that we could not score points for the relay. Her individual races also had to be counted as exhibition and could not count toward scoring. Bailey was in the same situation. Any relays he swam on and all his individual races were considered exhibition and did not score points. I would rather have the swimmers gain experience than worry about any points. We really look forward to having Hannah on the high school team next year.”
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