JEFFERSON Sea Dragon coach Tess Nunnally said she usually has no voice left after the district meet.
“Because I’ve yelled the whole time,” she explained.
Nunnally may stretch those vocal chords even more at this Tuesday’s district meet given the excitement surrounding this year’s group.
With a host of newcomers mixed with a talented group of veterans, Nunnally believes this might be the strongest Sea Dragon team to date.
Jefferson has traditionally boasted a strong girls’ program — after all, the Sea Dragons won the girls’ state title last year — but the addition of four to five boys swimmers per age group has really bolstered the boys’ team and the Sea Dragons as a whole.
And that has Nunnally excited about what that could mean for the district meet — and beyond.
“With the addition of the extra boys, I think we’re going to be some real contenders at the state meet,” Nunnally said.
Jefferson will take 60-70 swimmers to district at Habersham County’s Fulbright Aquatic Center for the chance to qualify individually for the July 18-19 state meet in Tifton.
“We’re thinking that most of the people we take will qualify,” Nunnally said.
Recent history is on the Sea Dragons’ side. Of the 42 swimmers that competed last year at district, 39 ended up qualifying and finishing as state finalists.
Oconee County, as usual, stands as Jefferson’s main competition at district, and then at state. So Tuesday’s district meet will offer the Dragons another preview of their rivals.
“It’s good to kind of see at district how they’re doing,” Nunnally said.
Jefferson lost a recent dual meet to Oconee County, but the gap seems to be narrowing between the two programs as the Sea Dragons won the girls’ portion of the competition. Jefferson, which was a little shorthanded in that meet, hopes it’s staring to peak at the right time.
“We start doing our best at district,” said Nunnally, who also mentioned that the team’s goal is to win the league championship July 12. “It’s going to be exciting.”
This year’s Jefferson team is highlighted by a number of talented swimmers, but Nunnally is particularly excited by this year’s about 8-and-under boys’ group — Mason Klinck, Ty Bennett and Christopher Law — and Peyton Fogle, who swims in the 10-and-under division.
“I really see some state champions in that group,” she said.
As far as the size of the Sea Dragon program, it’s as big as its ever been. In fact, the team has so many swimmers this year, registration had to be cut off.
“This is the largest team at 150 that we’ve ever had and the strongest, I feel, on both sides — girls and boys,” Nunnally said.