Gilley Pool has opened and swim season has surfaced.
McMinnville’s swim team has started making waves and training for the upcoming season, which begins June 9 with a meet at Shelbyville.
There are 58 swimmers on the team ranging in age from 4-17. This includes 5-year-old cancer survivor Kelsi Caten, who is swimming her first year.
Swim coach Paige Northcutt likes the way her team is taking shape during the early practice stages.
“Our goal is always to improve our swimming ability and get better from the first of the season to the end of the year,” said Northcutt. “And we always want to have fun.”
The swim team is bolstered by several strong returners. This includes Jayln Mart, the returning high point winner who is entering his second season.
“We’re looking for Jayln to improve on his times in the butterfly and freestyle events,” said Northcutt.
Zerek Keel, 8, was runner-up high point winner last year. He was the top swimmer in his age group and swims freestyle, backstroke and butterfly.
Samantha Ramsey returns for her third season and will be counted on to swim butterfly, backstroke and freestyle.
Rachel Stewart is the top returning female point scorer. She is strong in the hardest event, the 100 individual medley where the swimmer does one lap of each stroke – butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.
Northcutt admits it’s an up-hill battle to be competitive in a conference where other swimmers are in the pool year-round. McMinnville’s swim team just started practicing earlier this month and has four practices under its belt.
“We are the only team in our league without an indoor facility,” said Northcutt. “There are nine teams in this league that swim year-round. We swim for eight weeks compared to 47 weeks. Our kids do really well for what we have. Give us an indoor pool and watch us fly. An indoor pool would cost maybe $2 million.”
Northcutt said the county is currently spending over $1 million to build a fieldhouse for athletes at Warren County High School. She says if such a facility can be constructed for high school students who play sports, an indoor pool is within reason for the entire community.
The swim team has six meets scheduled this year. The team’s one home meet is on Tuesday, June 16.