New coach dives into work with Moffat County swim teams | CraigDailyPress.com

New coach dives into work with Moffat County swim teams

Jeff Wert to head girls, boys teams

Allie Dilldine powers through the water of the Moffat County High School pool in December 2013. The girls swim team started practices this week under new coach Jeff Wert.

It was less than two weeks ago that Jeff Wert was on the sidelines of the football field alongside the coaching staff of the Moffat County High School Bulldogs. Now, as the winter sports get underway, he's transitioning into a different environment than he was in during the fall.

And, so far, it's going swimmingly.

Wert will fill the role of coach for the MCHS girls and boys swim teams during the winter and spring seasons. The girls group first began practices Wednesday afternoon.

During his own teenage years, Wert was a regular fixture of his high school team and a strong competitor, but his attention went more to football and rugby at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, partly because there was no men's swimming program at the college.

However, he considers the aquatic endeavor one of his favorite, one in which athletes can learn as much from their teammates as their coach.

"I had a lot of leadership from the older guys, and I learned to love the sport," he said. "I'm so happy to be able to coach it now, and hopefully I can teach them a lot."

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Wert will replace Meghan Francone as head of both teams following Francone's decision this summer to pursue a new line of work.

"I've got her on speed-dial, and she's been a lot of help so far," he said.

Still in the early stages, Wert will continue to evaluate which swimmers will be best in relays, who will excel in solo events and otherwise "finding strengths and working through weaknesses."

With 13 female students showing up to start things off the season this week, he has a variety of talent at hand, from swimmers who are entirely new to being in the water competitively to those who are already accomplished.

"We've got some great leadership on the team so far, and I think our veterans will be able to help our younger girls," he said. "I'm excited, they're excited."

After being part of the football team, Wert said he hopes to continue to further build on MCHS athletics.

"I'm hoping the team we have now will be able to do a lot for the community and the school," he said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.