By Kevin Eickman
With financial uncertainty surrounding the Milford swimming program, it was doubtful they would even compete in the sport this winter. Once funding was found, the question was could they find a coach for this year’s squad. Up to the plate stepped Archie Campbell, an enthusiastic and individual who provided the stewardship Milford needed. Attending the final meet of the season at the Greater Milford Boys & Girls club, it was easy to see that this young squad possesses some aquatic talent. More than talented however, this group appeared to be genuinely excited to be swimming.
The boys completed the season with a 6-6 record. While that record may not be the stuff of legends, the fact that they competed at all was important. Since there was doubt to whether there would be a season at all, that in and of itself presented a challenge to the Buccaneers. Talking with junior Zach Legg about the just competed campaign, he seemed genuinely happy with how Milford had performed this year “People weren’t expecting too much from us this season but we got better as the year went on and I think we opened some peoples eyes.” Legg stated.
The girls finished up with a 7-5 record and looked to be just as enthusiastic as their male counterparts. Speaking with senior captain Lizzie Dissinger about the just completed season, it was easy to see that they enjoyed the year as well. “I think this season went very well. We had a change of coaching from last year, something that we have had to deal with before.” Dissinger stated. “This has been a really good season and I am very happy to conclude my career being a part of this team.”
Changing coaches has been a constant for Milford in recent seasons. “It is definitely a challenge to have and get used to a new coach, because one of the things an athlete does is bond with their coach,” Dissinger said. “In the case of Archie it was real easy because I have known him for a number of years as a substitute teacher.”
Speaking with freshman Sydney Millman about her first year on varsity, she enjoyed the competitive environment that it provided. “I have been swimming for a long time and I found competing at this level for the first time very exciting.” Reynolds stated.
Coach Campbell was more or less drafted into this position by the younger members of the squad, while coaching them on the Milford Marlins, the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club swim team. Having never coached at the high school level, Campbell stated that there was a learning curve for all involved. “I had to get used to the kids, sometimes they tend to be a little more independent than the younger people I have coached,” Campbell commented. “As the season went on, we finally began to see eye to eye.”
Milford also had to deal with a failed heater in the pool this winter, causing some meets to be rescheduled as well as not allowing the Bucs to practice in the pool. “We tried to stay in shape by doing land based exercise, but there is no substitute for being in the pool,” said Campbell. “The fact that they continued to work hard all season says something about how dedicated this group was.”