Another record-setting season is now in the history books for the Winder-Barrow High School Swim Doggs but not before several team members competing against the state’s best this past weekend at Georgia Tech.
Quinn McDaniels finished seventh in the 100 free and Ian Hentenaar was 12th in the event. McDaniels was also 15th in the 100 back.
The 400 free relay team of McDaniels, Daniel McIlwain, Alex Hentenaar and Ian Hentenaar was 16th at the state competition.
“This season went great,” said coach Jennifer Blevins. “The kids constantly improved their times and technique and gained a lot of great experience. There were several pleasant surprises along the way with swimmers reaching their goals and overcoming some adversities to get where they ended up. It was definitely a really good season. Our presence at several meets and the state meet continue to get the program noticed.”
The Swim Doggs continue to grow as a program, something which also makes their coach proud.
“The number of swimmers is not necessarily going up, but the talent, improvement, camaraderie, support and making a name for the team is certainly growing,” Blevins said. “The numbers have gone up though since my first season, when I had only three swimmers.”
In recent seasons the Swim Doggs have had an average of 20 team members.
“Having a larger team is always beneficial,” Blevins said. “However, at meets where entries are limited, it makes me a little upset that I can’t enter the kids in things they want to swim, or I can’t have each swimmer in their maximum events. I love the meets where all the entries are unlimited, because then every swimmer has a chance to compete in four events.”
One goal moving forward will be to gain more team members for the Lady Bulldogg swim program.
“We really need for the girls program to grow,” the coach said. “The Barracudas year-around and summer league teams give the kids a chance to know each other, grow as swimmers and transition to the high school team. We have gained several swimmers through the networking of parents, WBHS swimmers and Barracuda swimmers. I try to make it to several summer league meets so I can support the Barracudas, the WBHS athletes that swim for the team and to get to know potential Swim Doggs and their families.”
The loss of senior Alex Hentenaar leaves a big hole in the program as he has been not only a talented swimmer, but a solid role model as well.
Blevins said several seniors will be in the program next year.
She hopes to continue building from the eighth graders up and to add more girls to the team.