Final preparations were being made this week by the group of Winder-Barrow High School swimmers who have qualified for the AAAAA state competition at Georgia Tech Friday and Saturday.
Coach Jennifer Blevins and coach Amanda Partee-Manders will see eight of their swimmers compete at the highest level of competition later this week.
“We want to get as many of our swimmers into the final as possible,” Blevins said during Monday afternoon’s practice session. “We hope this will be our best showing of the year. We have already qualified more swimmers for state than ever before.”
Bulldogg swimmers Jared Glenn, Ryan Hendrickson, Nelson Lofton and Dakota Kay will compete in the medley relay at state while Mitchell Buttler, Ian Hentenaar, Alex Hentenaar and Quinn McDaniels will compete in the 200 free and 400 free.
Individually, Buttler will compete in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. Alex Hentenaar will test his skills at state in the 200 free and 500 free while Ian Hentenaar is set for the 100 free and 200 free. McDaniels will swim in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
“Our relay teams are strong,” said Buttler, a senior for the Swim Doggs. “We are excited about competing at state. We are seeded fourth and hope to be the first Winder-Barrow relay team to medal at state.”
Alex Hentenaar, a junior, said he will try to remain relaxed and stay focused in practice this week. Alex, who has qualified for state the last two years as well, said he knows it’s a big meet and understands the pressure is tougher.
“You really want to go out there and do well,” he said.
Ian Hentenaar, Alex’s brother, is a freshman for the 2012-2013 Swim Doggs and will be competing at state for the first time.
“There is some additional pressure being at state,” Ian said. “I want to be the top swimmer in my grade, but I know there are other freshmen who are just behind me. I think I’m ready for it.”
Glenn, senior for WBHS, is set for his final high school competition. He competed at state as a junior.
“There is pressure to try and do well,” Glenn said. “It’s competition against the best in the state and that helps motivate you. We will fine tune this week in practice and work on our technique. We are trying to get as fast a time for our relay as possible.”
Lofton, a sophomore swimmer for the Bulldoggs, said he’s trying to stay relaxed and not worry about the pressure of being at state.
“I will try to do the best I can,” Lofton said. “We all want to set our best times.”
Kay, a freshman, will be at state for the first time this weekend.
“I’m trying to look at it like any other meet,” Kay said. “I will keep my normal routine throughout the week.”
Hendrickson, a sophomore who will also be at state for the first time, admitted he is a little nervous preparing for the biggest meet of the season.
“It’s a huge event,” he said. “Hopefully, I can do my best and make it to the finals.”
The Winder-Barrow 400 free relay team is ranked fourth in the state based on time. A top three finish at state would give the team a medal.