It’s been eight months since the Hawks have been in action but showed no signs of being sluggish as both teams earned a first-place finish in their first meet of the year at Westminster High School. Prior to the start of the season, Head Coach Rick Creed noted the Wildcats would be one of their toughest competitors.
“We’ve been swimming there [almost] every year since we’ve opened up. It’s a private school in Atlanta, and they have a really strong swimming program so it gives us a good chance to see how we measure up,” said Creed.
“They’ve been a state power for many years. We won’t see them at state because they swim in the lower classification meet, but they’re always pretty competitive so it should be a good meet.”
The girls took a 170 to 139 win while the boys finished 153 to 151. This is a huge win on both sides but, especially the boys’ team, which lost a veteran group of guys from last year. Creed says he sees the glass half full concerning his team yet, there are a couple lingering concerns with the guys.
“I’m very optimistic. We’re a little thin on the boys’ [side]. We graduated a lot of boys from last year’s team. I think the boys’ team is kind of in a rebuilding stage. We only have 30 boys on our team this year, which is not a small group, but normally we have about 35-36,” stated Creed.
The girls, however, are not lacking in numbers and have a strong core returning that should solidify them as a top contender in the region.
“We have 50 girls on the team. We’re really excited about that group. We’ve got a lot of depth with the girls. We graduated some strong seniors but we’ve got some good ninth graders that have come up that are going to be really good swimmers. We’re excited about the girls’ potential. We are rebuilding with the boys’ team. We’ve got some good individual boys, but not a lot of depth,” Creed said.
Senior Chris Powell, who is also a member of the Athens Bulldog Swim Club, will definitely be a force as his competitors will surely have a hard time keeping up with him. Powell, who also competed for the Georgia Zone Swim Team, signed with the Bulldogs of the University of Georgia and will definitely take on the leadership role.
“He’s an outstanding swimmer. He’s actually got a shot to win a couple of events at the state meet. I think he’ll be one of the favorites in the 50 free and 100 free. He’s a great relay swimmer. He’s a [very talented] swimmer [and] very enthusiastic. He’ll be swimming in college next year,” said Creed.
“He’s extremely enthusiastic [and] very positive. The kids will rally around him. They are going to look to him to be one of the strong leaders. I think he’ll be our natural leader,” said Creed.
“He’s definitely our strongest swimmer and he’s very upbeat. The kids just naturally gravitate to him. He’ll get the kids fired up.”
The Hawks finished in the top three in the country and in the top 10 at state last season. Creed would like to raise those numbers but knows the road ahead will not be easy due to the realigned regions.
“Last year, our boys finished third in [the] county and our girls finished second at county. At the state meet, our boys finished seventh or eighth. We [would] love to finish in the top five in [the] state but, it will be a tough task because 6A picked up a couple of schools that are strong swimming schools such as Chattahoochee, Lambert and Johns Creek High School. Last year they weren’t in our state meet [but] this year they will be. I think [the] 6A [division] is going to be very strong and very competitive,” said Creed.
Many of the newcomers on the team are young but can have an impact on the team as they continue to develop their technique.
“I’m real excited about seeing the young swimmers compete. We have some new swimmers and some ninth graders. I’m really anxious to see how they do and to see how much the other kids have matured,” said Creel. “We lost some good swimmers last year and it will be interesting to see who steps up and tries to fill their shoes.”
Creed also noted the two teams that will be the biggest challenge for the Hawks in their region.
“It’s going to be a challenge to finish top five in the state but that’s certainly our goal. [In order] to do that you’ve got to beat the Parkview boys and the Brookwood girls,” said Creed.
The Hawks will return to action Nov. 17 at Collins Hill Pool and will compete against Archer and Shiloh at 8 a.m. Visit clickthepaper.com for updates and scores throughout the season.