“A season of perseverance.” These few but meaningful words from Head Coach Joe Graves describe the season ahead for the girls swim team.
Graves is happy with his team this year that includes a handful of freshmen and almost everyone from last season. Even though Graves is happy with his numbers, there are still a few bumps in the road.
“We don’t have everything working the way we wanted to but we’re still gonna work to improve everyday,” Graves said.
Another challenge the team is working through is that the Cape Central Bubble is closed, which was the main practice location for the girls.
“Well, it changes everything. When you lose two days of water, and you have to come up with the best way to adapt to that, it changes things. We have to have our practices later in the evenings, and there’s a lot of things to consider with that. Just in general, making sure these athletes are students first and that I’m giving them enough flexibility to keep up their grades.”
The girls season has just barely kicked off, with no meets or invitationals yet but lots of practices in and out of the water.
“We’re at Fitness Plus three days a week, then the aerobic type of practices two days a week. We’re also at SEMO on Saturdays because they have blocks there so we do one heavy aerobic set and the rest of the time is spent on using blocks because we don’t get to use those a lot.”
Blocks are the raised platforms mounted to the edge of the pool deck. These are what the swimmers stand on before starting a race and what they use to launch themselves into the water.
There is a mutual frustration in the team with the Bubble being closed. Their weight training days are usually 5-7 pm, and their practices at Fitness Plus can start as late as 7 pm. Even through all this, Graves’ main focus is to find new leaders for the different events.
“As far as medley relays last year, we lost our best stroker and our best butterfly so we have to find replacements for those and just in general across the board.”
Graves seems hopeful and excited for the upcoming season ahead and he’s sure that if the team puts in enough time, they will successfully make it to State, day by day, stroke by stroke.