Stoughton Swim Looks to Make Big Strides: Season Starts Tonight
The Stoughton High School swim team hopes to take a challenging season head on.
In her second year at the helm of the Stoughton High swim team head coach Jennifer Kelly is focused on continuing a long climb in the Hockomock.
"A lot of our swimmers are trying the sport for the first time," she said in a phone interview, "we really have to start from scratch."
The co-ed team had a tough season last year. The girls' squad went 2-7 while the boys mustered one win in nine meets. Coach Kelly emphasized how each year is about improving one step at a time.
"Last year we made a lot of progress," she said, "However we have a lot of room for improvement."
This marks the second year as head coach for the AP Biology teacher, having served for two years as the team's assistant coach. Kelly is assisted by Chris Brady, the Black Knight's former head coach who returned from retirement to help mentor the team.
There are four seniors on the team this year including captains Lianna Tilton, Laura Howard and Sean Leary. After losing only five seniors (three girls and two boys) the team is hoping that experience will boost their performance.
Still though, participation is a concern. "Our numbers for the guys' team are about the same as last year," Kelly said in an email, "while our numbers of girls have decreased significantly," from last year.
Some of the highlights from last year are modest, if encouraging. "By the end of the season most everyone was able to compete in all four strokes," Kelly said referring to the freestyle, the butterfly, the breaststroke and the backstroke.
Captain Laura Howard made it to sectionals as a diver while Taylor Goodrich did the same in the 100 meter breaststroke.
While other sports in the Hockomock league are dealing with the shakeup of the divisions, the new alignment doesn't affect swimming. Stoughton will face the same stiff competition as always.
Coach Kelly pointed to King Phillip and North Attleboro as tough challenges.
For the swimming team to keep making strides it will take overcoming a bit of scheduling adversity. Without a pool at Stoughton High, the team has to practice at Randolph High School, traveling there by bus each afternoon. The practices start at either six or four and go for about two hours. They share that facility as a practice site with Randolph, Sharon and Hingham high schools.
The season starts Thursday night against Foxborough.