By Kelsey Vest
Diving into the season without two NCAA Division 1 swimmers and divers, Brady Samuels and Sam Bennett, the next Delta High School swim season is starting up.
A year ago, the boys finished 11-1 and placed 11th in the state meet. Samuels was the state champ in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Bennett repeated as state champ in 1-meter diving. Both now are on the swimming and diving team at Purdue University.
But with standout freshman Zach Baty and returning seniors Brad Shue and Eli Arnold, the Eagles are hoping to continue their recent success.
“With losing Brady and Sam — two state champions — it’s kind of hard to recover from that, but this year I still think we will be good.” Arnold said.
Arnold has swam for 11 years and is unsure about swimming in college.
“My goal for this season is to make a lot of memories,” Arnold said.
Baty could develop into one of the team’s next stars. He has broken the middle school records for 50 fly, 100 individual medley, and the 400 free, which was the first record he broke in eighth grade.
“I have been swimming for club … and I swim five days a week,” Baty said.
He has now been training with the team and keeps working at his swimming daily.
The team is training separately by going to the fitness center from 5:50-6:30 p.m. and lifting weights. Along with lifting weights the team swims after school every day until 5:30. The team has been improving over all this training and over time they will continue to improve.
The girls’ team, on the other hand, has gained a lot of experience with the new freshmen coming in.
With incoming freshmen Annie Jackson, Katie Shue and Addison Shue, the girls’ team expects to be more talented this season.
All of these girls have at least six years of swimming experience.
Jackson nearly broke the 400 freestyle record in eighth grade but fell short by three seconds. She did break some records, including a 50 butterfly record, a 200 medley relay, and 400 freestyle relay with Jordan Bunch, Lora Warner and Alivia Jackson.
Makayla Robles is the lone senior for the girls,
“Being the only senior, it will be hard to plan a bunch of things to do, but I am going to do my best to plan as much team bonding as possible,” Robles said. “This will help with trusting each other and holding each other accountable for each and every day of practice or meets.”
Robles said the girls have been practicing hard to complete head coach Laura Seibold-Caudill’s challenging workouts.
“This year, the team has changed to a whole new mentality — going into every practice positively,” Robles said.
Both boys’ and girls’ swimming and diving teams are working hard and putting in the effort to make it a great season for their seniors.
Their opening meet is on Tuesday Nov 30 at home against Yorktown.