In his second year as Mingus Union High School’s swim team coach, Brendon Kenney is once again seeing a huge influx of new swimmers joining the team.
“We actually have about 10 to 12 completely new swimmers,” Kenney said, “and that’s including about six seniors.”
Kenney said that the same thing happened last year, but that is a common occurrence in an Olympic year when the popularity of the sport is at its peak. This year’s team growth is harder to explain.
“It was nice to see the same thing this year,” Kenney said. “A lot of the newcomers are very serious, they’re making sure they make it to practice every night — they’re wanting to progress toward competing.”
One of the team’s primary goals this season, Kenney said, is to qualify all six of its relay teams — three girls teams and three boys teams — for the state tournament, a goal they came just one relay short of last year.
“We have most of the swimmers back from [last year’s] relays,” Kenney said. “[The state meet] gives more kids the experience of coming down, because you have the four swimmers [on each team], but you also get four alternates, so everybody gets to come and see what the state swim is all about.”
Kenney said that in the past three years the state has changed from a regional-style format — where regional schools compete and send some of their swimmers to state, to qualifying times — where swimmers have to meet certain times to qualify, or provisional times that place them among the top 32 in their particular event.
But the Mingus swim team is embracing that process with a very strong senior class this year, Kenney said, including fourth-year varsity seniors Jared Cutshaw and Dylan Wilbur on the boys’ side, and fourth-year varsity seniors Fran Saucony, Courtney Warner, Shannon Knowles and Monica Saleez on the girls’ side.
Wilbur will serve as the boys team captain while Bowles and Saleez with be the girls team co-captains.
For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Aug. 21 issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.