Swim team struggles to stay afloat
Every year, they’ve managed to pull it off. Each swimmer grabs a friend and they barely make the cut. But even with a requirement as low as seven men, this year’s men’s swim team is lacking members. Unless more swimmers join, Athletic Director Larry Dukes will have to cut the team.
According to Dukes, the fate of the team fully relies on numbers. Since the beginning of the school year, only five committed members have committed to the team. With “each swimmer bringing a friend,” though, Dukes hopes the total will increase once the season starts.
Dukes has noticed that the decrease in swimmers coincides with the decrease in enrollment. “We use to have 15 to 20 boys try out each year, but with classes getting smaller, it makes it harder,” Dukes said.
According to Dukes, “many students” participate in a swim club over the summer, but don’t swim for the school. “A lot of times they [male club swimmers] turn 13 or 14 and drop out,” Dukes said. According to Dukes, the underclassmen who decide to swim haven’t swum since they were 13 or 14.
“After not swimming for so long, the only difficulty is making sure the swimmers who don’t swim on club teams are conditioned for when the season comes around,” Dukes said.
Right now, the players are mostly upperclassman. “We need some new freshmen to fill in the places after the upperclassmen graduate,” Dukes said. According to Dukes, making sure the season will happen is “just a matter of getting younger people to come and join.”
If the team manages to scrounge enough swimmers for the season, Duke thinks they will place in the middle of the competition. Even with the bare minimum of members, “[the team has] beaten teams before.”
Senior Will Horn is one of the few swimmers on the men’s team. Horn said that he tries to convince people to join and looks for students with swimming backgrounds. To deal with the low swimmer count, Horn said “most of us swim more events than we should and do not get breaks in between our events.”
“It’s peaceful when I swim and I love doing something I’m good at,” Horn said. “I’ve always swam and it’s something my family does. It’s the sport I love to do.”
Haley Kyger is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.org.