By Kevin Eickman
Back in January we looked at the Milford boy’s and girls swimming teams. At that time the girls were at the 5-4 Mark and the boys were 3-7. Milford had a few swimmers that had qualifying times for the State Tournament. What transpired over the final two months of the season was a testament to the dedication of a group of individuals that took their chosen sport very seriously and committed to improvement.
Following the January feature, the girls went on a 4-0 run to finish the season with a very respectable 7-4 record. While the boys may not have been perfect down the stretch, they were much improved. The squad, consisting of just 10 swimmers were able to win their last two meets and finish at 5-7. Speaking to coach Kelly Wells back in January, she had the belief that Milford would increase the number of swimmers with State qualifying times.
In all the Milford squad qualified 5 individual swimmers across multiple events. Junior Mason Sauers qualified in both the 50 and 100 and 100 freestyle. Joining Sauers in the boys 50 was fellow junior Bryce wells. “It’s going to be great to have those guys back as leaders next season, they really showed what they are capable of this year,” Coach Wells stated. “They are very good swimmers and are continuing to improve, I’m very proud of them.”
Sauers had a solid Henlopen Conference meet, finishing third in the 50 Free. “Sauers has been working at swimming since he was very young. He continues to work and improve,” Wells commented. “It would not surprise me to see him standing at the top of the Henlopen podium next season, possibly even qualifying for the State Finals.”
For the girls’ squad, junior Allie Benton (who overcame injury) qualified for both the 50 and 100, along with freshman Emmy Lefever. Rounding out the girls’ squad was 8th grader Carley Mackert, who qualified in the 100 backstroke. “It was great to have those swimmers qualify. When you look at the underclassmen, there is a tremendous amount of potential there,” commented Wells. “I am very excited about where these young swimmers will be in a few years.”
With eighth graders now being allowed to swim at the varsity level, it has been a huge bonus for Milford. Wells gives a great deal of credit to her assistant, Trish Davis. “Trish has been a huge help with the Middle School swimmers. She has been a real mentor and coach to the swimmers, and we believe it’s going to pay off for us. Trish is a tremendous coach and asset for this team and I honestly don’t know where we would be without her,” she said.
Another cog in the Milford swim team has been the assistance of the Milford Boy’s and Girl’s Club. “Without the help of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, we would not even be able to put a team in the water. They are so accommodating to us; they are always there for us and so quick to help. They are a big part of the Milford community in general, I just want to thank them for all the support they have shown us over the years.”
When asked if there was a swimmer that deserved some special recognition, Wells quickly offered up high praise for senior Jarod Millman. “He has overcome a great deal of physical challenges, most of them respiratory. He never complains and he always has a smile on his face,” Wells said. “He may not be the fastest swimmer I’ve coached, but I have never come across someone as dedicated as he is.”