Natalie Carr is providing lessons, perhaps teaching more than coaching during the preseason.
After finding her Wyoming Area swimming program in jeopardy of not being able to proceed with team competition because of low numbers, Carr went on the recruiting trail. She concentrated on freshmen, with the intentions of retaining newcomers for years to come.
“Hopefully, they’ll keep coming back,” Carr said. “They seem to like it.”
Carr was able to build the roster up to 11 girls in preparation for Tuesday’s season opener against Hazleton Area. The catch is most of her team had never been exposed to competitive swimming before.
Accordingly, practices began with teaching the freestyle stroke, flip turns and starts. They are beginning to progress to adding the backstroke and Carr thinks the team will look much different in terms of skill after the holidays.
“Every single one of them never swam before,” Carr said of the eight additions to the varsity roster, including seven freshmen. “ … It always amazes me that no one has ever done a start, never done a dive into a pool.
“Not one of these girls has ever dove into a pool. So, teaching them to dive is hard because they’re scared. But, they’re getting better every day.”
Carr is enjoying the process and watching her swimmers progress.
“It will be interesting because we’re really rebuilding,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun. The kids’ attitudes are real good.
“I enjoy that they’re enjoying themselves. That’s what makes me happy about this season.”
Sophomore Rebecca Dymond is Wyoming Area’s top returnee. She was part of two point-scoring relay teams when the Lady Warriors placed 15th of 18 teams in last season’s District 2 Class 2A Championships.
“Becca is very versatile,” Carr said. “She can swim everything.”
Juniors Ellie Clark and Goanna Gunning were both on the team last year.
Iliana McCloe, another junior, is among the newcomers.
Olivia Borys, Gabrielle Castellano, Emily Zeigler, Amanda Mission and Kailyn Culbertson are the freshman swimmers while Harmoine Gallagher and Branielle Butwin are freshman divers.
The Lady Warriors won one meet last season.
The Wyoming Area boys swimming program is down to four athletes.
A final decision will be made before Tuesday, but Carr said it is possible the four boys may simply compete in exhibition events to try to qualify for the district meet. If they do remain as an official team, competing with just four athletes, each restricted to four events, will create obstacles that are unable to be overcome in scoring, leading to the assurance of lopsided losses unless they run into a team with similar difficulties.
Senior Steven Dymond is one of the returnees. He specializes in distance events.
“Steven is very good at the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle,” Carr said. “He knows how to kick it in, right at the right time.”
Sophomore Joe Gasek also returns.
Juniors Jorge Trilla and Luke Waranek are the newcomers.
Wyoming Area was winless in the Wyoming Valley Conference last season, but did finish ahead of three teams, placing 12th of 15 in the District 2 Class 2A meet.
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