KF positive despite rebuilding year

Published 9:30 pm Thursday, December 8, 2016

After losing valuable experience from last year, King’s Fork High School’s swim team remains optimistic in a year of rebuilding.

The team is coming off of a year where it sent five swimmers to states last year. They had a prolific relay team on the boys’ side while also enjoying the success of strong individual swimmers on both the boys’ and girls’ sides.

This year, the Bulldogs have a young team, with two-thirds of the team being new swimmers. In the preseason, coach Erin Manning spent time working with the new swimmers, getting them used to competition swimming. In her third year as coach, Manning will continue to adjust and help her team grow.

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“We want to make sure we keep the energy up,” Manning said. “We want to ensure we are keeping girls confident and excited. Our captains have done a great job building team camaraderie.”

In just one meet this season, the Bulldogs have shown to be model teammates. They cheer each on and encourage each other. Manning mentioned that a parent from another team took notice and complimented on the team spirit.

“That’s one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten,” Manning said. “A parent from a different team noticing that my swimmers were being good kids. That’s what you want to do in high school athletics — build the kids up to be good people.”

In their first meet Tuesday evening, the Bulldogs lost to Hickory High School, but Manning liked what she saw from her team. Some of the newer swimmers competed in some of the toughest events, and they didn’t quit. They were able to have one swimmer place first in an event on the girls’ side.

This year on the boys’ side, King’s Fork is looking forward to getting contributions out of swimmers such as Steven Ramlogan. He is a senior and the captain of the boys’ team and is the breaststroke swimmer. Criofan Shaw is a sophomore and a very versatile swimmer. Andrew Noggle is a junior freestyle sprint swimmer. Their strength this year will be in the breaststroke and sprint freestyle.

On the girls’ side, King’s Fork will have Paige Summers lead the way as a captain. Summers also competes on the indoor track team as a long distance runner. Hannah Marston is a junior who will contribute in breaststroke and distance. Madison Schultz is a junior and year-around swimmer and will contribute in distance freestyle swimming. Distance freestyle swimming looks to be the team’s strength, as well as breaststroke.

One of the goals for the King’s Fork swim team this year is to send a relay team to states. They have been able to achieve that two years in a row with the boys’ team. However, the girls’ team just missed out last year after qualifying the previous year. Another goal for the teams is to have a .500 winning percentage. Manning is confident that her teams can achieve both goals.

King’s Fork will compete against Indian River High School at the Great Bridge Swim and Racquet Club Saturday starting at noon.