The Boyertown Mako Sharks swim team has some new faces to the team this year, which increased their total to 121 swimmers ,up from 115 last year. The increase of numbers is a nice surprise, especially a year after the Summer Olympic Games, which always inflates the numbers.
“We have a lot of new young kids,” said Linda Jones, program director for the Mako Sharks swim team. “Our older kids are very strong. But, we usually don’t get that many new kids. We got more new 10-and-under this year. That’s good for building the future.”
The coaches made an effort through the Y.M.C.A. to try and get more new swimmers to try out for the team. The effort paid off as many new kids decided to give it a try.Most enjoyed swimming on the team, so decided to stay. The one thing that Jones and the coaching staff. Hollee Garcia, Carlyn Prisk, Aubrey Miller, Alex Corbett and Nina Lisella do is to make swimming fun. That’s the goal of the entire program.
“We got 15-20 new swimmers and we’re usually lucky to get 10,” said Jones. “We doubled our usual number.”
The Mako Sharks didn’t lose many of the older swimmers due to graduation, and had a lot of returning swimmers. Jones thought they would get more swimmers last year due to the Olympic Games, but the numbers actually decreased.
One of the expectations for the team is to be competitive this year, which is something that Jones knows that the team will do.
One problem the team will face is that the swimmers who have qualified for the nationals will not be here to help the team in the first day of the county meet. It’s a frustrating conflict of the schedule for all of the Berks County teams.
“Our strength is our open age group and we have a lot of our 13 and 14 (age group) opens going to nationals,” said Jones. “We have 19 going to nationals and more are still trying to make it. We don’t have any divers and that makes it tough. The kids really do want to go to nationals and they want to be a part of that team. Summer swimming has to be fun.”
Jones feels that the team will be at least second in the county even if they don’t win the big county meet. The Mako Sharks won the meet last year, but didn’t win the overall which has swimming and diving events.
“We’re going to give it our best shot,” said Jones. “If they can swim well that first day with the kids that are left, we have a shot.”
Every team has its strengths and weaknesses, and Jones feels that the freestyle and backstroke events are a strength for the Sharks. Of course, she also has some very good breaststroke and flyswimmers as well. The problem is that the team doesn’t have as many swimmers in those two areas.
The Mako Shark weakness is in the numbers in the 9-10 and eight-and-under age groups. They also don’t have a lot of breaststroke swimmers in the older age groups.
Jones isn’t concerned about the numbers issue in those areas of the team. “That’s the way it’s always been,” said Jones. “We don’t get the younger kids until they’re older because of playing sports, dance or other things that they’re involved in.”
Some of the stronger swimmers for the Mako Sharks are from other school districts. They include
Daniel Booen: Brian Owens, Morgan Black, Sam Josten, Erick Deitrick, Carlie Ownes, Marissa Stephenson, Sam Josten and new comers Kaylee and Logan Garica; Brandywine Heights: Shelby Freed, Morgan Coates, Pei Calia Dillon Lancenese and Ally Armbruster.Exeter: Matt Feryo and newcomer Dan Leskowicz. Fleetwood: Matt Leenhowts.
From the Boyertown School District are Nick and Parker Vivian, Ryan Owens, Chase Renninger, Ivan Escott, Jermey and Julianna Glasner, Josh Boyer, Mason Kennedy, Patrick Lance, Alex Longacre, Sean Lance, Rhett Watts, Paige Campbell, Catherine Coates, Delanie Davie and Hannah DeWalt.
Jones sees the league the same as always. It’s a very tough league. Facing teams like Green Valley and Shillington, just to name a couple, will help them prepare for what the older open swimmers will face later on. She notes that Antietam has some very good swimmers as well.
“The dual meets are fun. I don’t worry about winning dual meets,” said Jones. “We like to win them, but it’s not important. Summer swimming is fun. It makes all the hard work all worth while.”