EATON — The Eaton swim teams kick off their seasons on Wednesday, Dec. 9, but both teams are entering some untested waters.
The boys’ team lost two of its leading swimmers in Drew Pool and Andrew Ferguson while the girls group, which is big in numbers, only brings one senior and several freshmen to the helm.
“One thing about high school swimming is that you have four years with a set of individuals and then they move on. We have kids coming back. Are they as good as the two that left? No. But can they be? Yes,” said head coach Dave Montgomery. “We are hoping to at least have one or two relays making it to state and two or three individuals.”
Mason McCargish, the lone senior on the boys’ side of things, is still entering the season with high expectations.
“My ultimate goal is to win an event at state. I also would like to see a relay place top three in finals if we can – as an ultimate goal,” he said.
He and Trey Gregory, who both made it to state as part of a relay team, will be relied heavily as leaders for the boys unit.
“When you are on a team, and you have other people swim, you always cheer them on. You always try to help if they ask you questions, you try to help them out and show them the best you can,” said Gregory,
The Eagles have two big slots to fill and are expected to fill that void with Josh Pool as the third relay member.
The fourth spot is still up for grabs, with big competition between Max Lawson, Aaron Scholl, Seth Gard, Wyatt Cox, and Conley Mitchell.
All are solid choices and Montgomery expects the 200-meter freestyle relay to be strong once again. They should also be competitive in the 400-meter freestyle relay and the 200-meter medley.
On the girls’ side of things, what they lack in experience, they make up for in number. It’s the biggest team the girls unit has had in eight years at Eaton, and it is producing some already exciting results
“We definitely are stepping it up a little and working harder in practice. We’re talking it more seriously,” said sophomore Lauren Ferguson.
Sasha Taxter, another sophomore and experienced swimmer, said that last year, sometimes the girls didn’t even have enough swimmers to fill out a relay team. This year is much different.
“We have a ton of freshmen and they are working really hard and I think we can make it pretty far with them,” she said.
While there is a big question mark hanging over the swim teams head, come Wednesday, the team will learn about itself.
“I think they’ll grow during the season and get better. Until they get in the water and see what they can do – that’s the big test,” said Montgomery.
But he also added that their roster of 17 boys and 15 girls is a huge positive.
“It’s really exciting,” he said.
Jeremy can be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.