Team at a glance...
2011-12 season: Finished sixth at WSL Championships
Coaches: Meghan Francone and Anita Reynolds
Key team stat: Roster is nearly 70 percent larger than the past several years, giving the Bulldogs depth
With a host of returning veterans and a large group of new recruits, the girls swimming team is excited for a new season.
The team, which normally has about a dozen swimmers, had 18 girls come out this year, making for a much deeper group.
That will pay dividends in several areas. While other sports have dropped to Class-3A this season, swimming only has two classifications—4A and 5A—which means the Bulldogs will be up against the same competition as every year.
But with a larger team, they will have the chance to field a competitive team in more relay races, as well as in more individual races at a given meet.
The team also boasts some stalwart swimmers who will look to make noise at the state meet, including senior Eryn Leonard, who has been to state in each of her three seasons swimming at MCHS.
Craig Daily Press spoke with coach Meghan Francone, Leonard and newcomer to the team Bailey Kurz:
Craig Daily Press: What are you looking forward to in your senior year of swimming?
Eryn Leonard: Making it the best year I’ve had in high school swimming. I’d like to have a good team come together and have more than one relay at state.
CDP: Will having a bigger roster help you to compete more in some of your meets?
EL: I’m pretty sure we will. There’s so many new girls here and they’ve shown so much improvement in the last three weeks, it’s crazy. They’re blooming. It’s so exciting.
CDP: Individually, what goals do you have?
EL: I’m really close to sectional times, I’d like to get those and I’d like to get state times in all of my events this year. It’s so competitive, the girls we go up against are amazing. But Craig, we do so well there, we show them where we’re from and that we have talent too.
CDP: This is your first year?
Bailey Kurz: I’ve swam before, but this is my first year in high school.
CDP: What are you most looking forward to about this year?
BK: I’m really excited to see how far I’ll come throughout the year. Just how much I’ve improved.
CDP: Any personal goals for the season?
BK: Not really. This is my first year back since summer team for awhile, so I just want to see how far I’ve come since then.
CDP: Swimming is often more of an individual sport, especially at smaller schools where the numbers don’t mean meet championships as often. What is this team’s outlook?
Meghan Francone: Each girl has different goals, expectations. We will be more competitive this year as a team because of our numbers. But we also have Leonard, who places high in state every year.
CDP: The team is larger than normal this year?
MF: We have 18 girls out. Almost double our typical size. With girls, we usually have around 12, but still. I’m thrilled though.
CDP: There are a lot of different levels of swimmer on this team. How do you juggle that?
MF: I do lots of research to try and help, but the girls also help each other. We sort of put girls at similar levels in the same part of the pool so they can push each other. Throughout the season as times change, talents change, we will adjust that.
CDP: Are there any girls you expect to see have success?
MF: Absolutely. I have high expectations, especially for our relays this year. WE’re a little bit deeper than we normally are, so we’re able to push ourselves among our own team. We don’t usually have that. The girls that have been here for years, a lot of them have already qualified in years past. I expect them to do the same, and I think they expect it of themselves.