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Swimming strong: TRM to open season this Saturday

Corey Williams | The Brewton Standard The 2016 TRM swim team with coaches Angel Boyd (far-left) and Lisa Atkinson (far-right)

Corey Williams | The Brewton Standard
The 2016 TRM swim team with coaches Angel Boyd (far-left) and Lisa Atkinson (far-right)

The T.R. Miller Tigers swim team will have its first meet at the Brewton Area YMCA against Saraland this Saturday. The team is coached by long-time swim coach Angel Boyd with Lisa Atkinson serving as assistant coach and teacher representative.

Boyd said the swimmer are excited to represent TRM and showcase their talent.

“We’re really expecting a good meet for us,” Boyd said. “Hopefully it’ll be a win for the T.R. Miller Tigers. Swimming is an individual sport so in wins we’re looking at cut times for sectionals as well point scores in each event for our swimmers.”

On the team are seventh graders, Nolan Atkinson, Jacob Thelen and Caleb Kent; eighth graders, Mac Baxter, Jocelyn Carpenter and Sara Scott; ninth graders, Cole Jernigan, Dean Thelen, Sailor Smith and Elizabeth Glass; 10th grader, Tiffany Reiss; and senior Chris Guthrie.

Boyd said Jernigan is the fastest on the team and is all-around when it comes to distance races. He’ll be look to swim the 50 freestyle and 100, 200 backstroke.

(Jernigan) is our premiere backstroker,” Boyd said. “He’s also very strong in the IMs (individual medley), which will be the 200 IM. Right now, he has five qualifying times for sectionals that we know he can do. ”

Atkinson is full of energy, Boyd said, and is a premier freestyler.

“(Atkinson) is full of life and energy,” Boyd said. “His main competitions are the 50 and 100 freestyle. He is also a very good backstroker. He’ll also be swimming the IM in most meets.”

Baxter will showcase in the butterfly and breaststroke events, Boyd said.

“He’s a middle distance swimmer. He will do well in the 100 and 200 events.”

Carpenter, who also runs cross-country, will look to shine in the backstroke events.

(Carpenter) is best in the backstroke,” Boyd said. “She is also very good competing in the breaststroke. She’s a middle distance swimmer. I feel her 100 backstroke will be her best event coming into the upcoming meets.”

Scott, who also plays volleyball, is very strong in the breaststroke for the girls team said Boyd.

“(Scott) is good in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke. I feel like she will be a very good asset on our medley relay and breaststroke.”

Boyd sayd Dean Thelen has really improved over the summer, especially in his 50-freestyle time.

“He’s definitely a freestyler. He will do the 100, 200 and 50-yard freestyle events, as well as the 500 freestyle. He’ll do a couple other events but those will be the events he’ll be focused on.”

Boyd said Jacob Thelen shines in the breaststroke.

“The 100 breaststroke will be his focus,” Boyd said. “He’ll also swim the 50 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle for us.”

Boyd said Flomaton transfer, Caleb Kent is No. 4 on the team speed-wise.

“(Kent) is good at all four strokes, but breaststroke and butterfly are his specialties,” Boyd said. “He’s good at short and middle distances.”

Glass is one of the premiere freestylers for the girls.

“The 50, 100, 200 freestyle, those are the ones she will compete in for us,” Boyd said. “She’s a good sprinter and middle distance swimmer. I feel she’ll get some sectional times for us.”

Boyd said eighth grader Sailor Smith has been out of swimming for a couple years, but has came back strong. “(Smith) is probably the third fastest girl on the team right now. She’s great at the butterfly and her freestyle has really improved. She’ll do the 50 and 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 200 IM as well as some relay events for us.”

Boyd said Reiss is a really good middle-distance swimmer that excels in the breaststroke and backstroke.

“We’re really excited about getting her back in the pool,” Boyd said. “She’s been out for about a year and she’s coming on very strong here. We’re hoping to see some good things out of her.”

Boyd said  Guthrie, the lone senior swimmer, has been working hard at practice to improve speed. He’ll compete in the 50, 100, 200 and 500 freestyle as well as the 100 backstroke.

“(Guthrie’s) been out of swimming for three to four years, but he has been working hard at practice and giving everything he has,” Boyd said. “I’ve seen so much improvement just in his diving from the block, on his freestyle, butterfly; he works really hard on the technical things. Technically everything is correct. Now we’re working on building his speed. “

The TRM swim team will compete in the boys and girls medley relay and freestyle relay.

For the boys freestyle A-team the anchor will be Cole Jernigan, with Mac Baxter leading off. Rounding out the team will be Nolan Atkinson and Caleb Kent. For the B-team will be Dean Thelen as anchor, with Jacob Thelen leading off. Rounding out the team looks to be Chris Guthrie and Caleb Kent.

For the girls freestyle team will be Sara Scott swimming anchor, with Elizabeth Glass leading off. Rounding out the team will be Jocelyn Carpenter and Sailor Smith.

For the boys medley relay, Cole Jernigan will swim the backstroke, Mac Baxter the breaststroke, Caleb Kent the butterfly and Nolan Atkinson the freestyle.

For the girls medley relay, Jocelyn Carpenter will swim the backstroke, Sara Scott the breaststroke, Sara Smith the butterfly and Elizabeth Glass the freestyle.

In the boys 400-yard freestyle relay will be Cole Jernigan, Nolan Atkinson, Mac Baxter and Dean Thelen.

For the girls 400-yard freestyle relay will be Elizabeth Glass, Tiffany Reiss, Sailor Smith and Sara Scott.

Boyd said that even though most of the team is involved in other sports and activities, they have continued to all work hard at practice to not miss a beat in the pool.

“They’re swimming at six o’clock in the morning,” Boyd said. “We do two a days on Wednesdays. We have kids come from football practice and go straight to the pool after. Some leave band practice and volleyball and come swim. It’s been really good to see these kids excited about swimming again. The other coaches as well as band director have been really good working with me to work around the schedule of the kids with practice. It’s been great.”

Boyd has coached swimming since 1995.

TRM had its first ever swim team in 1997 which Boyd coached with the help of assistant and teacher representative Harriet Godwin who was a counselor at TRM.

October 18 and 29 the team will travel to Fairhope; Nov. 1 the Tigers will host its second swim meet. Sectionals in Mobile will begin Nov. 18. State competition in Auburn will begin December 9.