The Winder-Barrow High School Swim Doggs have really been making a name for themselves over the past five years.
It all started when Mitchell Buttler joined the team as a freshman for the 2009-2010 season. That year started what has become a tradition of swimmers qualiying for state, coach Jennifer Blevins said. With Buttler, the boys 400 free relay also qualified.
The 2010-2011 season saw freshman Brittany Litke qualify in two events as well as Buttler, again in the backstroke. Litke transfered to Buford High School the next year and finished out her high school career there.
During 2011-2012, the Swim Doggs welcomed freshman Quinn McDaniels, who joined Buttler and an improved Alex Hentenaar.
The 2012-2013 season brought Ian Hentenaar on board, which completed a powerful quartet of four swimmers in Mitchell Buttler, Quinn McDaniels, Alex Hentenaar and now Ian Hentenaar.
That season showed the largest representation of WBHS at the state meet, with 11 entries.
The 2013-2014 season brought in three strong freshman swimmers that are on this year’s state team: Daniel McIlwain, Jack McDaniels and Bijon Mansour. The team also has benefited from state returners: Ian Hentenaar, Alex Hentenaar, Quinn McDaniels, Ryan Hendrickson and Dakotah Kay.
“This year we are super excited going into the state meet,” Blevins said. “Although we are down to nine entries, these entries are very strong ones. These kids have all worked hard to get to the meet and continue to work hard so that they can perform well. The entire season, all members of the team worked hard to get their times down, improve technique and race performance and constantly set goals to achieve.
“It was so rewarding to hear a swimmer set a goal before he or she got in to race and then meet that goal. Sometimes, it was a time goal, sometimes it was a place goal, and sometimes it was to beat another swimmer that was chosen as a goal target. Seeing swimmers improve over last season is also great to see. Watching the excitement on their faces as they recognize improvement and reach their goals is rewarding.
As the Swim Doggs go into the state meet, Blevins said all that she can hope for is that the athletes will stay healthy, stay relaxed, have fun and swim fast.
“I hope they improve their seed places and times and that we can finally see some Swim Doggs on the medal podium,” the coach said. “The top 16 in each event qualify for finals, which will compete on Saturday. The top three in each event earn a spot on the podium.”
The WBHS coach said she knows that seed times are just a guide for this weekend.
“We never know what those other swimmers can really do and how hard they have been working to improve,” Blevins said. “Hopefully, all of the WBHS boys are working just as hard and are ready to race. As long as these boys compete and leave it all in the water, I will have no complaints.”
Recent State Meet History:
•100 backstroke: Mitchell Buttler, freshman, 32nd
•400 free relay: Mitchell Buttler, Daniel Dean, Ryan Weathers, Billy Hentenaar, 41st
•100 back: Brittany Litke, freshman, 12th
•200 individual medley: Britany Litke, freshman, 24th
•100 back: Mitchell Buttler, sophomore, 33rd
•100 free: Quinn McDaniels, freshman, 22nd
•500 free: Alex Hentenaar, sophomore, 39th
•100 breaststroke: Quinn McDaniels, freshman, 44th
•100 back: Mitchell Buttler, junior, 30th
•200 free relay: Jake Hester, Quinn McDaniels, Alex Hentenaar, Mitchell Buttler – 43rd
•400 free relay: Mitchell Buttler, Jared Glenn, Paul King, Alex Hentenaar, 44th
•200 medley relay: Mitchell Buttler, Quinn McDaniels, Alex Hentenaar, Jake Hester, 40th
200 free: Ian Hentenaar: freshman, 21st
•200 free: Alex Hentenaar, junior, 26th
•50 free: Quinn McDaniels, sophomore, 42nd
•50 free: Mitchell Buttler, senior, 51st
•100 free: Ian Hentenaar, freshman, 14th
•500 free: Alex Hentenaar, junior, 19th
•100 back: Quinn McDaniels, sophomore, 31st
•100 back: Mitchell Buttler, senior, 36th
•200 medley relay: Ryan Hendrickson, Jared Glenn, Dakotah Kay, Nelson Lofton, 39th
•200 free relay: Mitchell Buttler, Quinn McDaniels, Alex Hentenaar, Ian Hentenaar, 11th
•400 free relay: Mitchell Buttler, Quinn McDaniels, Alex Hentenaar, Ian Hentenaar, 10th
•100 fly: Alex Hentenaar, senior (seeded 25th)
•500 free: Alex Hentenaar, senior (Seeded 11th)
•100 free: Ian Hentenaar, sophomore (seeded 2nd)
•100 free: Quinn McDaniels, sophomore (seeded 7th )
•200 free: Ian Hentenaar, sophomore (seeded 5th )
•100 back: Quinn McDaniels, junior, (seeded 13th )
•200 medley relay: Jack McDaniels, Quinn McDaniels, Alex Hentenaar, Ian Hentenaar (seeded 16th)
•200 free relay: Bijon Mansour, Jack McDaniels, Dakotah Kay, Ryan Hendrickson (seeded 38th)
•400 free relay: Quinn McDaniels, Daniel McIlwain, Alex Hentenaar, Ian Hentenaar (seeded 7th)