By Kevin Eickman
One of the most demanding sports that Milford has to offer is swimming. While the middle of winter might not be everyone’s idea for a dip in the pool, for the Milford girls and boys swim teams it’s their favorite time of the year. Under the guidance of coaches Trisha Davis and Kelly Wells, Milford has continued to improve as the season has gone on.
While the boys have battled to a 3-7 record, the girls have achieved a 5-4 mark. While those numbers may not seem remarkable, it has been the family atmosphere and the ability to push one another to get better every day that has stood out for this squad.
“If we don’t have a meet, we are here at the Boys and Girls Club every day working on getting better,” Coach Wells said. “When I take a look at the effort that our swimmers have put in and then take a look at how each and every swimmer has improved, I can’t help but be proud of them.”
The boys squad is made up of just 10 swimmers, with only three seniors among them. With a small number of swimmers, it means that everyone has to do their part. “We have been asking a great deal of the swimmers but they have responded,” Wells said. “A lot of it has to do with senior leadership. Our three seniors have been helping the younger swimmers all while trying to improve their own skills, I’m very proud of how they have been mentors.”
The girls squad boasts a larger number of 23 swimmers, with that depth providing Milford with much greater versatility as well as competitiveness. “Just like the boys, the girls team has been improving with every practice,” Wells said. “The whole squad puts in a huge amount of work every day and the results are showing it.” Unlike the boys squad, the girls team has only one senior swimmer, Emily Morgan. “We really believe that the future is bright for this team, we are going to have a big group returning next season and we are very excited about that.”
Milford has a number of swimmers that have already qualified for the State Tournament. One of those is junior Mason Sauers who has qualified for the 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke and the 50 freestyle. Sauers enjoys the culture being fostered by the Milford coaching staff. “We really have embraced the team aspect. We are always helping each other, pulling for each other, just trying to make each other better,” Sauers said. “Meet days are always the most fun for us, it’s when we get a chance to show how we’ve improved through the hard work we have put in.”
While Morgan has yet to qualify for States, she has completely enjoyed being a leader on the squad and is enjoying her senior season “The friends and connections that you make with people are very important to me,” Morgan said. “You make friends and get to know each other, things like that are very important to me.”
Bryce Thompson is a senior on the boys squad and much like his teammates, he really enjoys being part of the squad. “Coming out here every day is hard work. But the friendships you make and the fun you have make it all worth it,” he said.
Another senior is Jarod Millman, who is the last of his family to have been a part of the program. “Swimming has always been very important to my family, and for me to be finishing out my last season is exciting,” he said. “This is definitely something I’m going to miss. It really has been a lot of fun.”
Freshman Emmerson Lefever is another State qualifier who has qualified for the 50 freestyle and is hoping to qualify for the 100 before the season is over. “I took my first swim lesson six years ago and I was hooked. I enjoy coming out here so much, I really do love being a part of this team.”
Junior Allison Benton has already qualified in the 50 free and is getting close in the 100 backstroke as well as the 100 free. What she enjoys is watching the younger swimmers get better as the season goes on. “We have people that really haven’t been swimming for a long time, but that just seems to make them try harder. It’s very exciting to watch everyone grow into better athletes,” she said.
Wells echoed Benton’s comments. “We have swimmers of all different abilities. We have someone (Lefever) who had never swum at all basically. He was determined, we taught him the basics and built from there. It was quite an accomplishment for him just to get on the block, dive in and finish the race. I mean everyone was pulling for him.” Wells said. “You don’t have to be a world class swimmer to be a part of this team, all you need is the desire. You may never qualify for States, but what you will get is better. Better at swimming, but more importantly, better at life.”
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