The Mount Airy Bears varsity swim team began its season this year with depth on the roster and a lot of great kids, said Head Coach Jay Williams.
“I have got a great group here. They are here because they want to do well. We try to give them the tools and they are here on time,” said Williams.
The coach said these kids are really “a great group” because they are individuals who he would want to be role models for his daughter and sign up as a majority even for optional practices when they could choose to take time off.
The Bears started the 2012-13 season with 36 people on the roster and “with a great foundation,” said Williams. The roster breakdown is 21 girls and 15 boys.
The Lady Bear varsity record is 4-1 so far this season, and the boy’s varsity record is 3-2, said Williams.
It is only five meets into the season, and Sydney Peavy, Katherine Scott and Emma Harrison already have made qualifying times for the Regional swim meet, which will be held on Feb. 1 and 2, according to the NCHSAA official information site for the 1A/2A West Conference. The location for the 1A/2A is listed as the Huntersville Aquatic Center.
Harrison qualified in the 100 backstroke, 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle; Sydney Peavy qualified in the 100 breaststroke and 500 freestyle; and Katherine Scott qualified in the 200 freestyle.
Williams said it is important to him to have a “teamwork” philosophy and to make swimming fun, while working on fundamentals such as turns, dolphin kicks and endurance.
The head coach said it is his first year as head coach for the Bears’ team and he is pleased with the team’s progress so far. Williams has been involved in coaching as assistant and other roles for over 12 years, he said. He was quick to credit others in the program as well, such as assistant coach Greg Williams and others such as Jo Ann Revfem and Amy Bledsoe. Both Revfem and Bledsoe, he said, helped lay the foundation for the Mount Airy Bear swim program.
Assistant coach (Greg) Williams said he recently removed to the area from Paducah, Ky., and has been involved in swimming all the way up to the Olympic level and for more than 28 years.
About the Bears’ swim program, the assistant coach said, “The focus here is on the kids and I look to have fun as well as train very hard and individualized. Swimming is a sport earned not given,” he added.
Both head coach and assistant emphasized the importance of swimming as a primary sport of focus and/or one that builds endurance and feeds success in other sports.
Head Coach (Jay) Williams said, “There is a place in swimming for every kid at every level” and further commented on the benefits of swimming. “It is safe on the joints and is also a sport in which kids with asthma also can compete.”
The next swim meet will not be held until exams are finished and the holiday break is over. The Bears are scheduled to swim against North Surry on Jan. 1 at the Reeves Community Center.