Lakeland junior Greg Epps practices at the James L. Camp Jr. Family YMCA in Franklin. Epps was a particularly important contributor for the swim team in the 100 meter breaststroke event.

Lakeland team struggles

Published 8:22pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A loss to Nansemond River High School earlier this month marked the conclusion of the Lakeland High School swim team’s second year and another winless regular season, but the upcoming district championships offer high-profile opportunities for progress.

Lakeland’s swim program was created a few years behind those of Nansemond River and King’s Fork, and all three schools struggle against many of the seasoned Chesapeake schools in the district. On top of this, Lakeland head coach Heather McElroy has only a small team to work with, but the goal for both the boys’ and girls’ team this year was to crack that first win.

“As far as the regular season, we did end up going 0-8, which was disappointing for the kids, but they recognize we are still in a building season of our team,” she said.

“They just hope that we can continue to grow and next year have more swimmers,” she said.

The final meet against NR was not close, but McElory still was positive.

“They all did really well,” she said. “We had a few first places and a couple second places, but nothing very outstanding.”

But her team still has an opportunity to make its mark on school history and the Southeastern District Saturday at the championships.

“As far as districts, I have three swimmers that are really hyped up and ready, hopefully are going to be able to make regionals,” McElroy said. “Maybe Philip Rankin in the 50-meter freestyle and then Casey White and Greg Epps in the 100-meter breaststroke. They both have their sights set on those things to make regionals this year.”

The Southeastern district swim championships are scheduled for next Saturday at Hampton University.

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