First-year coach Marin Camp--bell's voice could be heard loud and clear in the Moffat County High School pool.
"This is a streamline," she exclaimed as she showed the proper technique. "This is not," simulating what she was observing.
Swim and dive team members watched the coach's visual instructions with intent. And then they executed it.
In Campbell's first week as coach, Bulldog swimmers were coming to the pool early and staying late.
"In our first week, we had a nice little group coming to morning practice," Campbell said, "which is pretty dedicated at 6:30 in the morning, where you're not just working out, but you're getting in the pool, and it can be kind of a hassle."
Campbell swam for the University of Georgia, and she is no stranger to early morning workouts. She is excited to see Craig swimmers aren't either.
"To have a group be willing to do that just proves to me that they're serious about it and serious about bettering themselves," Campbell said. "And it's inspiring to me and makes me want to step up and be a good coach, because they're so motivated. I think next week we'll have even more (come to morning practice)."
Campbell said that even though some swimmers weren't ready for two-a-days, she's seen a steady improvement from Day 1, and she is excited about the upcoming swimming and diving season.
"I want to challenge them," Campbell said. "I want this whole season to be about challenging themselves. Whether it be going to state or learning the butterfly, I just want them to be able to achieve something they have never done before, or something that they maybe thought was out of their reach."
Campbell has a strong core of returning swimmers in Kelsey and Caitlin Conci, along with Katherine Dodd and newcomer Natasha Romney.
The Conci sisters have spent the fall training for the upcoming season, and Campbell expects them to be two of the Western Slope's top swimmers. During the summer, the duo broke several swim records. Now their focus turns to qualifying for state and seeing their team reach goals it hasn't before.
For participants who played fall sports or trained in other ways, Campbell said the benefit is obvious.
"Any sport is going to help you with swimming conditioning, any cardio fitness is going to help, but obviously the ones who swam over the summer have a little bit of a leg up," Campbell said. "Swimming fitness is tough to come by, and it's tough to hold onto. It's a full-body conditioning that you can't really get from any other sport, and it's the only sport in which your breathing is not completely unrestricted."
Joining the Bulldogs this season are a swimmer and a diver from Steamboat Springs, which doesn't have a high school swim team. Genna Bradley and Kelsey Pierson both travel to Craig at least twice a week to train with the team.
Campbell said that having known the two swimmers from beforehand may have played a small factor in their joining the team, but it wasn't a guarantee.
"I know they would have swam no matter what," Campbell said. "It's nice for me to know a lot of the girls coming in. I know about half of the team from summer league and from prior swimming."
Campbell has a simple formula for this year.
"We're looking to establish some goals, and then knocking them down. Really, that's kind of my strategy," Campbell said. "I'd love to win a couple of meets."
The Bulldogs kick off the 2006-07 season by traveling to Grand Junction and Montrose on Dec. 1 and Dec. 2, respectively.
Melanie McDaniels can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or mmcdaniels @craigdailypress.com.