The Scottsboro varsity girls and boys swim teams entered the 2018 season with varying experience levels for the swimmers of their respective rosters.
The Scottsboro girls team returns four of its five 2017 state qualifiers while 14 of its 19 swimmers swam last season at the varsity level.
“Our girls are really looking forward to this year,” said Scottsboro head coach Shalyn Benson. “We have a couple that are focusing on taking their talents to the next level. They all push each other for greatness and are really the anchors of our camaraderie.”
Meanwhile, the SHS boys team’s roster features less experience. The Wildcats have only one of their four 2017 state qualifiers, Tony Pereira, returning. Pereira won bronze medals with third-place finishes in the 50-yard Freestyle and 100-yard Butterfly last season.
“Tony Pereira will be finishing up his SHS swim career and hopefully leave a lasting impression on the younger swimmers who strive to keep up with him in the water,” Benson said. “Pereira, along with JD [John Dalton] Sanders, is expected to have no problems returning to State with hopes of bringing home some hardware. We have five seventh-grade swimmers this year that are expected to be assets for our team and contributing points along with our upper classman who will lead the way.”
The Scottsboro varsity boys team’s roster consists Pereira; sophomores Sanders and Andrew Stevenson; freshmen Gaby Lyle, Parker Peach and Jake Vance; eighth-grader Kaje Jordan; and seventh-graders Luke Armour, Jake Benson, Joseph Gardner, Harrison Stone and Preston Worley.
The Scottsboro girls team’s roster consists of seniors Maddie Childress, Kathryn Sanders and Cheyenne Vincent; juniors Lydia Cook, Mary Cook, Marie Guldner, Shelton McCormack, Paige Megehee, Olyvia Stone and Makenna Worley; sophomores Lilyan Robertson and Sarah Vance; freshman Ashton Baker; eighth-graders Grayson Gattis, Paige Giles and Addison Thompson; and seventh-graders Kimberly Caldron-Diaz and Caroline Sanders.
Scottsboro opened its season in the Sprint Invitational tonight at the Natatorium in Huntsville. Scottsboro swims in the North Alabama High School Swim League (NAHSSL) during the regular season and will swim in the Class 1A-5A North Sectional when the postseason begins.
Benson said both teams have the potential to make a postseason impact.
“Last year we had several athletes who missed their individual state cuts by less than three-tenths of a second,” she said. “Most of the swimmers on the team swam for Scottsboro's Club Team, SSA, this summer, which helped them to become stronger athletes and more confident in their abilities in the water.”
Benson said newly adapted training methods are paying off for the Wildcats.
“We are already able to see a difference both physiologically and in the team morale,” Benson said. “Everybody comes to practice every day with a positive attitude and puts in great work. We are all excited to see how this season goes.”