REEDSPORT — Both literally and figuratively, the Reedsport swim team has gone from treading water to making waves. Now in the third season since the team was rebooted after about a decade without a program, head coach Guy Marchione is focused on the growth of his team.
“Now they’re actually learning technique. This year will be a lot of technique where before it was just teach them how to swim, teach the flip turns, teach them what backstroke means and all of that stuff,” he said.
The team of 13 swimmers includes individuals from both Reedsport and Siuslaw High School. One of the swimmers making the trip from Siuslaw is senior Sydney Robison who has been with the program since it started.
“In fourth grade I was on a swim team and I moved to Florence and they didn’t have one. When I heard about Reedsport’s swim team I was like, I’m so in,” she said.
Robison is the top returning swimmer for the Brave. Last season she finished 14th at the district meet in the 200-yard freestyle and 20th in the 100-yard breaststroke.
“We’re to the point where we have two or three kids that can get into the finals for districts. That’s not bad for three years,” said Marchione.
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Additionally, Marchione is pleased that each season his team has continued to grow in how far they can be pushed in the water. But he still wants to go farther.
“What we’re looking for now is we need to start acting like a swim team. What that means is I can put up a 3,000-meter workout in an hour and they should be able to accomplish this. In year’s past, if they did a 1,500 meter workout, they were done,” he said. “This year I’m hoping we can actually work out like a swim team.”
Since the program kicked off, the hardest part for Marchione has been getting swimmers into the pool — a hard sell for high schoolers who have, in most cases, not swam since they first had swimming lessons as children.
To solve that problem, Marchione implemented a swim club which now has 36 first- through eighth-graders that are already beginning to swim competitively. With this feeder system in place and continuing to grow, there is optimism about the future of the program that won’t have to start from scratch.
“I’ve got the kids who are coming in next year, there are about three of them that will be better than these guys. They’re already faster and better because I’ve been able to work with them longer. So that’s where we’re at right now,” he said.
Reedsport will open the season at Marshfield on Dec. 13. The Brave will also race at the North Bend Invitational on Dec. 14 before heading home for the Reedsport Invite on Dec. 20.