Swimming: Tigers to rebuild with large class of juniors, sophomores

Losing 17 seniors off last season's squad and coming into his first year as head coach at Douglas, Charlie Bowman has set about steadily rebuilding the program.

Armed with a veteran roster on the girls' side, a stable of talented newcomers on the boys' side and a slightly retooled training program, he expects the team will see marked improvement over the course of the season.

"We don't have as much speed as we have had in the past," Bowman said. "But we have a very good base. We're hoping by the end of the season they'll all be right in the mix of things."

Bowman hasn't tweaked the practice schedule much, with the exception of running an hour longer and making Saturday workouts mandatory. He has, however, put more focus on out-of-the-water work.

"We've been working on our strokes a lot, but we've also picked up a lot of different stuff out of the water," he said. "We've been doing a lot of weightlifting, working on balance and flexibility. We've done all kinds of exercises like Pilates, plyometrics and endurance training."

Another difference this year is that Bowman pulled the divers in to do weight training and conditioning with the swimmers.

"A lot of the divers have also decided to swim with us this season," Bowman said. "It depends on which days the meets are, but they'll be able to choose which they want to do every week."

Bowman said as a whole, he'll have many swimmers challenging for personal bests early on.

The girls' roster is loaded with depth and youth.

Senior Josefina Sigala, who claimed the individual gold medal at the season-opening Aqua-5 swim meet last weekend, will lead the way for the Lady Tigers. She is expected to be one of the top all-around swimmers in the region this season.

Other top returners include Katie O'Neill, Whitney Simpson, Sara Sigala, Kaylee Hames, Amanda McRae, Denai Neilander, Rebecca Chappell and Mandy Moore.

"We have a couple new girls that are going to be very good for us," Bowman said. "Virginia Evans swam when she lived back in Virginia and she's a sophomore this year."

Bowman said he is also excited about Katie Fried and Julie Pozun, Mirelle Zamudio, Annalyse Klekar, Julia Hagan and Erin Ghan.

Two athletes from Whittell have also been making the trip down from the Lake every day to work out with the team since the Warriors don't have enough to make up a full team this season. Emily Scharer will compete in the swimming events and Monica Ozonowitz will compete in diving.

"Both of those girls have been very committed so far this season," Bowman said.

The diving team returns a strong veteran core with five of its eight athletes all second- or third-year divers.

At the season-opener last week, April Epps took fourth place in the girls' competition with a score of 152.85. Lisa Gourlay scored a 108.9 to take sixth.

Ryan Fore took fourth for the boys with a score of 158.15, Holden Sapp took fifth with a score of 134.35, Joe Sellers took sixth with a score of 127.4, James Spencer took seventh with 121.85 and James Barnard took eighth with 119.6.

The boys' team lose 100 backstroke regional champ Trevor Schaff, all-around standout Justin White and a host of other talented seniors from the squad that took third at regionals last season.

"We're basically starting over with the boys, but it is a good, hard-working group of guys this season," Bowman said.

Sophomores Taylor Brockway, Marco Hyman, junior Sean Vogl and junior Paul Von appear to be the top returners early on after posting top 20 finishes at regionals last year.

Sapp and Barnard will also compete with the swim team. The roster is rounded out by talented juniors Blake Maxwell, Andrew Pozun, Ben Weiss and freshman Ryan Dykes.

"Ben and Blake are two very talented newcomers," Bowman said. "Ben has an incredible work ethic. He's always here, always working hard. Blake works here as a lifeguard and we conned him into swimming."

Vogl and Josefina Sigala have been named the swim team captains and Sapp and Epps are the diving team captains.

-- Joey Crandall can be reached at jcrandall@recordcourier.com or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.


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