NR swimming well in rebuild

Published 9:07 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Nansemond River High School’s swim teams currently sit at 3-1 despite graduating 20 swimmers last year.

The Warriors swim teams have gotten off to a pretty good start in what coach James Riley considered a rebuilding year for the team. After graduating nine boys and 11 girls last year, Riley wasn’t quite sure what to expect this season.

For the boys’ team this year, Riley will be returning 11 year-round swimmers out of the 20 on the team. With 11 year-round swimmers, experience is the strength of the boys’ team.

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Sophomore Allen Zachary returns as one of the top male swimmers. He has already qualified for the state championship in the 50-meter freestyle. Brandon Eubanks returns and has already qualified for regionals. Clay Bennett, Hunter Ward and Parker Doleman round out a solid top five swimmers for the boys’ team. They currently sit at 3-1, their only loss being by a score of 88-82.

“I feel very good about the boys’ team going into the new year,” Riley said. “We still have a couple of powerhouse teams to swim against, but I feel if the team comes to swim their best, they can beat anyone that they want.”

Nansemond River will swim in the Kecoughtan Invitational. The invitational is, of course, invite only, and the Warriors boys’ swim team has six swimmers who have qualified to compete in one of the biggest meets in the Hampton Roads area.

The Nansemond River girls’ swim team also stands at a 3-1 record. Riley has two freshmen star swimmers for Nansemond River. Selby Heyman and Danae Martin lead the way for the girls’ team. Heyman has already broken three schools records so far this year. Both swimmers have also qualified for the Kecoughtan Invitational. Carley Bennett and Katelynn Kreutter bring experience to the team as year-round swimmers. The girls are progressing well, and the future is bright for the two freshmen. At the beginning of the season, the team started with 12 girls but now has 20.

“It has been a highlighted season already,” Riley said. “Both teams have exceeded expectations. The boys lost a very close meet against a powerhouse team in Hickory. The boys’ team is looking very good early in the season. Our girls have definitely gone beyond expectations in a rebuilding year.”

In just four meets, the Nansemond River swim team has 11 cuts for regionals in the relay and individual events. They have one state cut in Zachary so far.

Nansemond River’s girls’ swim team has never finished with a record better than 4-4 in school history, but Riley feels they have a good shot to do so this year. The boys’ team is also on pace to have its best season in school history as well. Both teams know they are within reach and are making it a goal to surpass school records.

“They all keep getting better and better every time we step into the pool,” Riley said. “They are working hard, and it’s starting to show.”

Nansemond River will compete against Indian River High School Jan. 7 at the Great Bridge Swim and Racquet Club. After that, they will compete in the Kecoughtan Invitational on Jan. 14.