The Tunkhannock Area boys and girls swimming teams are back in the pool ready to compete in the Wyoming Valley Conference.
The boys team finished 6-3 in the WVC last season and the girls squad finished 7-5.
On the boys side, head coach Tim Mislevy is quite optimistic for the upcoming season, as the Tigers will return almost all of their 2016 squad.
“We have a nice core of swimmers back, so we’re excited,” Mislevy, now in his 19th season as coach, said. “As an older group, we’ve been able to get at it a bit better than normal after spending quite a bit of time in the preseason on technique. Right now, we’re just trying to get back into water shape, and I’m trying to also stay patient in wanting to get them back to where I’d like them to be too early. Overall, I’ve been pretty impressed of where we are at this time of the year.”
The Tigers finished third in last year’s district meet, which included a gold medal in the 200 freestyle relay and state qualifying performances from Alex Bushre (50 free) and Sawyer Aitken (diving).
“That’s definitely one of our goals — to repeat as district champs in that relay,” Mislevy said. “That should be a strong point for us and diving is strong as well, so we’ll lean on those quite a bit. The kids are always fighting to make the best relay teams and are always putting the team first. We do have some places that we’ll need to fill and have room to build, but there’s several swimmers who are already ahead of where they were a year ago. I’m thrilled about that, and hopefully they can close the gap and get better so we can be more competitive.”
And although it’s early, Mislevy will grow more and more optimistic as the holiday season approaches — as long as the times in the pool continue to improve.
“I’ve already started to take a step back a little bit to watch who’s going to step up and be the leaders of the team, and we already have several kids that are really stepping up in that regard,” Mislevy said. “They become the voices and work a little bit harder to try and push everyone. We’ll see where we are time-wise in the first couple of meets compared to last year, then take a look through Christmas. I like to be right at or close to our district times in the main events as close as we can be after the holiday. If we’re at that point, I’ll feel pretty confident that we’ll be alright.”
For the Lady Tigers, head coach Tori King, now in her fifth year as head coach, noted that this year’s numbers are a little down, but the team has a pretty good mix to it.
“We’re working with a smaller group, but what we do have is hard workers that should help us still stay competitive with bigger teams,” King said. “We have experienced girls and some new girls, so we’re sort of in the middle. We’re trying to find a good balance of teaching strokes and techniques while also putting in harder workouts.”
As with the boys’ team, the Lady Tigers will also use their relay teams to keep their swimmers competitive while the squad finds its footing in the early going.
“We’re pretty strong in freestyle, but we’re also looking to fill some spots,” King said. “Things got off to a little bit of a slower start with having to learn some techniques, but we’ll hopefully be able to get some more endurance and can do some longer drills. That way, we can see what they’re capable of doing and find some girls to step up and fill in where they need to.”
Tunkhannock travelled to Elk Lake for an exhibition meet on Tuesday, Dec. 5, and will kick off the Wyoming Valley Conference schedule on Dec. 13 at Nanticoke.
Seniors: Sawyer Aitken, Hunter Whytashek, Jake Baldo, Logan Fowler, Ben Tidball and Alex Bushre; juniors AJ Hodge, Dyllan Henning and Dylan Mislevy; sophomores Davis Tidball, Lane Repsher, Hunter Snay and Mike Astegher; and freshmen Julian Madus and McCauley Kenia.
Seniors Sara Fetter, Anika Sehne and Haley Thrash; juniors Shannon Green, Taylor Lynn, Alexandra Rought and Melody Traver; sophomore Alexis Hutchins; and freshmen Haylee Docolavich, Camryn Rogers, Jonica Snay and Erin Weaver.
Dec. 13, at Nanticoke, 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 15, at Coughlin, 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 20, Lake-Lehman, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 2, Scranton, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 10, at Wyoming Area, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 12, Meyers, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 16, Wyoming Seminary, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 18, at Berwick, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 19, at Ernie Shartle Invite (diving), 6 p.m.
Jan. 20, at Ernie Shartle Invite (swimming), 10:30 a.m.
Jan. 23, Holy Redeemer, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 25, at Hazleton Area, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 31, Pittston Area, 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 2, at WVW Invite (diving), TBA.
Feb. 3, at WVW Invite (swimming), TBA.
Feb. 7, at Wyoming Valley West, 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 14, Dallas, 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 16, at Les Richards Invite (diving), TBA.
Feb. 17, at Les Richards Invite (swimming), TBA.