BARNESVILLE — Thanks to a wealth of experience coming back this season with 14 returning letterwinners, expectations are fairly high for the Barnesville High swim team for the upcoming season.
Included in that group of 14 returnees will be eight district qualifiers — seniors Mya McEndree, Kali Milhoan, Alee Wise and Abby Froehlich; junior Jacey Stephen; and sophomores Alana Trigg, Abby Moore and Olivia Starr.
Other returning veterans are seniors Sarah McMillen, and Manny Vasquez; juniors Jaylin Pouerie, Kyla Morris, Ashlyn Gordon and Kelly Gallagher; sophomores Tori Froehlich, Kaleigh Finnical and Anna Wahlmeier.
Graduation losses include several long-time swimmers including district qualifier Samantha Drake along with four-year letterwinners Krissanna Hanes, Joanna Gallagher and Ashton Austin. Also departed are Megan Riley and Sarah Schutz.
Head coach Bobbi Jo Johnson returns for her 19th season leading the Barnesville swim program, and she feels the Shamrocks might be a little behind to open this season due to unforeseen circumstances. Lisa Gallagher will serve as Johnson’s assistant coach this season.
"Our swimmers did not get the water time they usually get this summer due to our summer pool construction," Johnson explained, "but we have hit the water hard and they seem to be handling it well. We’re trying to make up for that lost work with some extra work now."
Once again this season, without a home pool, the Rocks will spend a lot of time on the bus with no home meets and all their practices being held at Wheeling Park High School.
A different look this season for Barnesville will be for the first time in about six years, the Shamrocks will field boys’ relay teams. In recent years, the Shamrocks team has only featured one swimmer and thus were not able to swim relays.
Thanks to addition to the roster this season of four freshman — Michael Gallagher, Ethan Spangenburg, Jordyn Strous and Owyn Wise — and one senior in the previously-mentioned Vasquez, the ‘Rocks will have the ability to swim relays this season.
New to the team this year are Barnesville Summer Swim League Swimmers who are now moving in the high school competition including Jett Stephen, Wise, Spangenburg, Gallagher and Strous.
The Barnesville swimming schedule remains the same as in the past, except for traveling twice to the Muskingum Recreation Center in Zanesville to take on Tri-Valley and Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans.
"This year, our seasonal goal is to get as many individual district qualifiers as we can," Johnson stated."We have been strong with the girls’ relays, but individually we can’t get over the hump so maybe this is our year."
Barnesville opened the season earlier this week in the Kick-off Meet at Wheeling Jesuit University and jumps back into the pool Saturday at the Dover Invitational.