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Though the Lady Laker swim team has grown considerably in size from last season, coach Stacey Meckley says the large influx of new girls are “looking fantastic.” The swim team currently has 27 girls, with just eight swimmers returning from last season, and Meckley is thoroughly impressed with how well the newcomers are progressing. 

“We’re young, the majority are freshman and sophomores. But they’re coming along beautifully, they’re definitely athletes,” Meckley said of the multitude of new swimmers she has this season, “a lot of them are athletes in other sports and use swimming as conditioning for spring sports like soccer or track.” 

The progress the young swimmers have made is all the more impressive, according to coach Meckley, considering the fact that for the vast majority of the girls this is the first time they have experienced competitive swimming. The Westlake Aquatic Center, located a good distance from Camdenton on the Laurie Fairgrounds, is where the swim team practices and is the only indoor swimming facility at the Lake suitable for a high school swim team. As a result, there’s little opportunity for young swimmers to get any exposure to competitive swimming before reaching the high school level. Despite this, her swimmers have shown the ability to learn quickly and develop into what Meckley believes will be a “super competitive” team for Camdenton. 

“For most, this is their first time swimming competitively but they’ve got tremendous spirit and so much heart. They want to compete and they will be competitive,” Meckley said while discussing how her young team has looked in practice. 

In terms of what she has wants to focus on in practice, coach Meckley’s primary goal is for all the girls to be proficient in all the different styles they compete in and for each girl to be able to compete in each and every event. So far, the young swimmers have shown no signs of having any trouble adapting to their new environment or with learning the strokes. Meckley feels that the underclassmen have developed very quickly, saying that despite their inexperience they have done an excellent job in learning their strokes— free, back, breast, and butterfly— and continually improving their technique. 

The objective for Camdenton’s girls swim team this year is firstly to create strong bonds as a team, something that their coach believes will have a tangibly positive effect on their other stated goal of returning to the State Championships. 

“We want to first and foremost develop a family, they’re always really supportive of each other. They might compete in individual events, but they work together as a team,” coach Meckley said of how a strong team culture and sense of family helps her swimmers succeed in competition. 

Last year, Camdenton had two girls graduate who had gone to State all four years of their high school swimming career. Replacing them will not be an easy task, Meckley admits, saying they have “big shoes to fill”, something that she made even more abundantly clear when she related that one of those two swimmers went on to serve as a rescue swimmer in the Navy and the other as a swimmer for Georgia Tech. 

Though the large number of new, young swimmers are progressing exceptionally well, in order for the team to be able to send some of their girls back to State they will need the returning veterans to “bring along the young girls” as they get their competitions this season underway. Camdenton’s young team might experience some growing pains as they continue to adjust in their first year of competition, but coach Meckley believes that they are growing the popularity of the sport at the school and will be “competitive for year to come” as a result. 

“Swim isn’t that popular around here, but it’s coming,” she remarked, pointing to the growth she’s seen in Camdenton’s swimming program. Coach Meckley also expressed her thanks to the families, the community, and the school for the support they have given to their program and that has contributed to its growth. 

The Lady Lakers swim team will begin their season Thursday, Dec. 2, when they travel to Springfield to compete in a relay competition at the Foster Natatorium.

The Lake Sun