The Roseburg High swim team has its largest group of swimmers in recent years ready to compete this winter, which will help to replace 12 seniors lost to graduation.
Roseburg has 70 swimmers on the team this year, compared to 47 a season ago.
“We are in a building year as far as speed and skill sets go,” Roseburg coach Christy Todd said. “We lost 12 seniors, including three key boys (Robert Gosman, Tanner Todd, and Jamie Brown) who were all part of our state relays. However, our numbers are incredibly high this year which presents both great opportunities and challenges.”
Two swimmers back for the Indians with state meet experience include Hunter Agsten and Brighid Rickman.
Agsten, a senior, was a member of the 200 freestyle relay team that took third place at state in 1:28.74. He also swam on the 400 free relay that placed 12th.
In the preliminaries, the 200 freestyle team was timed in 1:28.73, missing the school record by .01. The Roseburg boys finished ninth in the team standings.
Agsten went to state two years ago as an individual in the 500 free.
“My goal would be to drop some more time in the 500 as well as the 200, which are my main two events,” Agsten said. “And try to get our relay team back up and running so we can go to state again this year. That’s the hope.”
Rickman, a junior, finished 12th in the 50 free in 25.80 last year at state. She was on a relay team that made it to state her freshman year, so she’ll be looking to return to state for her third straight season.
But this time she would like to take her teammates, qualifying as a relay.
“I want to go back to state and hopefully drop some time on my 50 and 100 freestyle,” Rickman said. “I’ve had a shoulder injury for the past year, so getting my shoulder strengthened and hopefully getting a relay to state as well because that would be super fun.”
While the YMCA is under construction, only one pool is available to use for the community but the staff has been very generous to the team, according to Todd, allowing them their allotted practice time.
“We have focused our past two years on growing our intermediate team and have been successful in accomplishing that goal,” the coach said. “We’re hoping that it will pay off this year in order to fill the key varsity spots and in scoring points at district.”
The boys have some good talent in junior Rainey Lambert in the 100 backstroke, sophomore Logan Todd in the 50 free and freshmen Dominic Colvin and Trevor Knox.
“The sophomore (Todd) and one of my freshman (Colvin), they have a lot of growth,” Christy Todd said. “Colvin is a very seasoned swimmer. We have a lot of potential in 200 freestyle relay. Dominic has a chance as an individual (to go to state). He’s young, but he’s fast so it’s a possibility.”
The girls have Bethany Foster in the 200 free and Libbey Ketchum in the 500 free.
Junior Zachary Traul, who was on the 400 free relay team that went to state last year, is focusing on track and field and won’t swim this season.
“We know that we can do it (return to state),” Agsten said. “Being able to train through the pain and know that we’ve already experienced it once before and we can do it again.”
“It also takes away the fear of uncertainty knowing that you have crossed that point before, that you’ve made it,” Rickman added. “So it’s a matter of bettering yourself and knowing that you can get back to it.”
In the Southwest Conference, Christy Todd expects South Eugene to field two strong teams this year. The Roseburg boys finished third at district last year, while the girls were fourth.
“This year is going to be a bit more challenging within our district and to take swimmers to state,” Todd said. “So unless you win your event, attending state will be more difficult to snap up wild-card spots with a large 6A pool of swimmers. We’re going to have to focus our efforts on the auto times for state this year. We’re going to focus on ourselves and try not to focus on the competition around us.”
The Indians open their season on Dec. 8 at the North Bend Invitational. Their first home meet is Dec. 13 against Grants Pass.
“We have new swimmers at all grade levels this year and have gained a strong freshman class,” Christy Todd said. “I am excited to see what this year will bring and I am expecting to see fast times and great swims.”