New season, new expectations for Mingus swimmers
In sports change can happen frequently. It is often a hard adjustment. But that doesn't mean a team can't be successful. The Mingus Union High School swim team is hoping for that.
Last year, the coach of the Marauders was Brendon Kenney. Now, it's Gretchen Wesbrock. Wesbrock has big shoes to follow. In 2013, the team went all the way to the AIA Division II State Championships in Mesa. She has never coached high school swimming, but does have other coaching experience.
"I've coached recreation, I've coached masters, coached USA club," Wesbrock said.
To ease her first year as head coach, Wesbrock will have Tyler Novak. Novak is entering his seventh season with the team.
She said that swimming in high school is different from the levels she coached before. Wesbrock mentioned that she likes the new challenge.
"I'm excited to be in a new community," she said. Wesbrock added that swimmers in high school can have more variety than other kinds.
"One of the things I love about high school swimming is there are all levels of swimmers," Wesbrock said. "So you have kids who have been swimming all their life competitively. You have some students who go into high school and say, 'swimming, oh, that's a sport.'"
Wesbrock has always been dedicated to the sport. She was a member of the Lumberjacks team when she attended Northern Arizona University.
Wesbrock said the individual part of the sport can be beneficial to the athletes. "It's such an individual sport that it's you against yourself," she said. "You're trying to beat your times."
Of course in high school, athletes can only play if their grades are well enough. Wesbrock said as coach she makes sure her student athletes spend enough time in their studies.
"They have to be a student first," Wesbrock said. "Even if their dream is to go and play collegiate sports, they have to be a good student. I want to see them taking challenging classes."
Junior swimmer Caleb Furey is hoping to have a big season. This summer, Furey was one of athletes on the Cottonwood Clippers recreational swimming team. Furey said that swimming all summer will prepare him for the start of the season.
"It help a lot to just get in shape," Furey said.
He said that his biggest strength as a swimmer is the 100-meter breaststroke. Furey added that he still needs to improve his performance on the 100-meter butterfly.
Another important athlete on the team is senior captain Leah Mount. During the summer Mount kept herself busy by swimming for a USA team in Sedona. She said the addition of the new swimmers will help the team.
"I'm just excited to meet all the new swimmers," Mount said. "It is an individual sport, but we all really come together as a team.
Wesbrock is Mount's third coach in four years. New coaches means there are adjustments. But Mount said it hasn't been very difficult.
"I guess just adjusting to the new coaching techniques," she said. "Because everyone is different, it just has to take time to know how they coach."