Heritage Hills returns swimming teams' coreNovember 20, 2019
By JONATHAN SAXON
LINCOLN CITY — The Heritage Hills boys swim team is putting everyone on notice.
Last year’s success awoke something primal within the team, and the Patriots are coming back this season for more.
“Our boys had a really good season,” Patriots coach Gary Ayer said, reflecting on the team’s third-place finish at sectionals. They also sent five swimmers to the state meet last year. “[They] had a great showing at sectional. They left the season a little hungry. They wanted a little more out of sectional.”
The boys get their start on Tuesday against Boonville. Before that, however, the girls open their season Saturday at the Mount Vernon Relays. Last season, the girls team overcame teamwide injury issues to take home a top-six finish in their sectional, and the young team did a lot of growing as the girls came together to have their best swims at the end of the season. With both teams aspiring for more glory, the returning Patriots swimmers have been hitting the water hard and taking ownership of their preparation time to get in the best competitive condition possible.
“The kids have had a really good attitude from the beginning of our conditioning, and carried it on to the pool,” Ayer said “They’ve been doing a really good job. The core of last year’s team is back for the boys, same for the girls.”
The boys team returns seniors Gavin Fuchs, Ethan Roos, Dominic Williams and Noah Collignon, and junior Josh Halvorson. Fuchs, Halvorson, Collignon and Roos made up the 200-yard freestyle relay team that went to state. Fuchs also swam the 100-yard butterfly at state, while Williams represented in the 100-yard breaststroke.
On the girls team, seniors Emily Porter, who battled shoulder issues last season, and Brittney Crosby return, along with sophomore Lillian Gobel, who also nursed a shoulder injury last winter. All three swimmers were on the 200-yard freestyle relay team that finished fourth overall. Senior diver Madison Detzer is also back healthy and looking toward a better season.
The Patriots are determined to give it their all in the pool when the meets start up, but Ayer will remind them that the season is a marathon, not a sprint. He’s not so wrapped up in wins and losses during the season. His goal is for the team to keep focused on making progress so the Patriots can produce their best times when it counts as they slog toward the end of the season.
“My goal for them is to stay positive,” Ayer said. “It gets to be a grind, just maintaining that focus is going to be the goal I have for them. You always want to be at your best during championship meets. We hope to be in the mix again.”
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The Pats remain unbeaten in conference play with Saturday's win over the Braves.