Concord High swim teams eye strong seasons
The Concord High boys’ and girls’ swimming teams enter this season facing challenges. The boys’ team has holes to fill, and the girls’ team has a disappointing finish to make up for.
So the tests are set. Fortunately for the Crimson Tide, Coach Karen Jenovese is confident she has the team to pass them.
“We have some really great swimmers across the board whose strengths are in different events,” she said. “We have quite a few standouts.”
The Tide will need some to emerge on the boys’ side, where Concord lost three swimmers who were responsible for five top-five finishes and a relay victory at last year’s Division I championships. The Tide finished fourth at those championships, so to stay at the top of the division, Jenovese will need swimmers ready to pick up the slack.
Senior James Schumacher is the top returning swimmer; he was second in the 50-yard freestyle and fourth in the 100 breaststroke last year, but he’ll have help. Junior Kevin Hayes has state meet experience, competing in both the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly last year, and Jenovese also expects senior captain Stephen Anderson (100 breast, 50 free) and senior Jacob Rhodes (100 breast, free) to help form a strong unit this winter.
“As far as the boys’ side goes, overall, I think they’re very strong,” she said. “I don’t really see a lot of weaknesses. I think we’ve got a great squad this year.”
The Tide also has promising freshmen coming in, led by Denys Bowen (100 breast, 100 IM), Logan Lamb (100 fly, distance free) and Stephen Moran, whom Jenevese called “talented in a lot of different strokes.”
“I think they work really well together, they’re all fired up for relays together,” she said. “They train hard.”
Unlike the boys’ team, the Concord girls get their top performers from last year back. Leading the way is Alaina Pribis, who burst onto the scene as a freshman and walked away from the D-I championships with wins in the 200 and 500 freestyle.
“She pretty much gets the team fired up about anything that we’re doing,” Jenovese said. “She has a lot of really great energy.”
The Tide also returns senior Sarah Smith, a 14th-place finisher in the 100 fly last year, and sophomore Kaelin Willette, 21st in the 50 free. The team will also be helped by senior captain Maddy Fore (freestyle, breaststroke) and junior Kathryn Hochberg (freestyle, backstroke), while freshman Amy Williams will compete for a top spot as well.
“She’s a great freshman swimmer. She’s going to be a contributor to the program, as well,” Jenovese said. “She’ll swim anything you ask her to do.”
It’s a mix that Jenovese has expectations for, the least of which is exceeding last year’s 11th-place finish at states.
“They look like they’re going to be stronger and more successful than last year’s group,” she said.
The early returns for both the boys and girls are good. The boys opened with a first-place finish in a four-team meet, while the girls beat two teams and tied with another.
The teams stumbled in a loss to Pinkerton Friday, but Jenovese is liking the way things are looking.
“We have a lot of really talented swimmers. … There is an expectation that they’re going to do well when they go to meets,” she said. “So I would say they’re right in line with what we expect them to do.”
(Drew Bonifant can be reached at 369-3340 or at email@example.com, or via Twitter @dbonifant.)