Marion’s swim team consists of swimmers from three different schools: six attend Marion, four hail from Centre, and seven come from Hillsboro under a cooperative agreement established in December.
Coach Randy Carlson reports that the three groups mesh well as a team.
“I think as time has gone on, a lot of the rivalry stuff has gone away between these small schools,” he said. “A lot of these kids nowadays are all friends, and they all know each other. Our communities have gotten smaller, and I think we’ve all come closer as a county.”
Hillsboro’s girls in particular add a lot of personality to the team.
“They all vibe off of each other,” Carlson said. “They’ve all done the same type of sports and activities, so they’re very comfortable with each other.”
Only five students came back from last year’s team. One of them, Amy Gale, has been a leader within the team.
“She’s my senior,” Carlson said. “I’ve been coaching her for four or five years now. When I need help, she never hesitates.”
Carlson wants to focus on swimming correctly and in proper form as opposed to trying to swim as quickly as possible.
“Yesterday, at our game against Bishop Carroll, they swam really well and they were fast, but they had eight disqualifications,” he said. “We had no disqualifications, and I pride myself on that.”
Working around different schools’ events and players’ personal schedules is a bit of a challenge, but Carlson and his team stayed flexible and determined.
“I embrace the challenge,” he said. “Everyone works really hard, and we try to make it work together.”