By CAINE GARDNER
With its swim season just under way, North Putnam looks to make waves with a balanced attack.
Although the Cougars are bringing smaller numbers to the pool this season, head coach Wesley Richardson has set his expectation high for his young squad.
"I see the team doing better than last year," Richardson said. "I think our times defiantly improve from last year. Our roster is not as full as I would like it to be. We just are going to have to do our personal bests and those types of things."
Friendly competition is something else Richardson hopes will makes its way from the practice laps into competitions. Fielding only three seniors, the Cougars will have to look to younger athletes to help lead the way -- an aspect Richardson thinks could be strength for his team.
"We have some pretty hard working athletes on the team," Richardson said. "They tend to push the other athletes coming up through the ranks as well.
"There are a few (underclassmen) I'm impressed with. Chris Pierce, Luke Kelly, Briana Smith, C.J. Werner and Katie Wilcox are all impressive. We have some freshmen that are pretty impressive as well. I am really ecstatic about what they'll be able to do this year," Richardson commented.
With a year for the team and coach to get to know each other, Richardson believes his team now knows what is expected and how it needs to be accomplished.
"They know more of what to expect this year than last year. They know more about what the workouts are going to be like compared to last year," Richardson said.
A youth movement is gripping the county and North Putnam is no exception. With goals set high, some freshmen are pushing at times set in past years, a fact that Richardson is more than pleased with.
"There are some members on the team that rival one another, especially the boys' team. There are some ninth graders that vying for the 50's and the 100's that some of the other team members set last year or in prior years, that are on the team now. There a little bit of competition there, so that helps.
Also the goal I told them as well is that I expect personal best out of every meet we swim," he replied.
With a realistic eye, Richardson knows that low numbers might not translate into wins but acknowledged the fact that more than wins and losses should be on the minds of his swimmers.
"I told them to expect personal bests even though we might not win every meet. I told them wins and losses are not what colleges are looking for, it's times and personal bests, He concluded.