JEFFERSON’S swim meet this weekend will be a historic one for the Dragons because, well, it’s the program’s first-ever.
The fledgling Jefferson swim team will compete in its augural event Saturday at the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center in Gainesville. The meet will feature over 500 swimmers.
Due to the number of year-round swimmers in the Jefferson school system, the high school and middle school have started a joint team. The first-year team is headed up by Lane Guzman and assisted by Tricia Bartoletta and Tammy Kelley.
“We have a lot of swimmers who compete year-round on the state level and we also have had a really strong summer league (the Jefferson Sea Dragons) for quite some time,” Guzman said. “So it was just kind of a natural progression.”
The high school team, which has 11 members, includes Falon Bell, Nic Aquila, Emily Kerr, Blake Harkins, Avery Mixon, Jacob Musgrove, Camille Porter, Austin O’Kelley, Heather Perry, Jordan Slappey and Victoria Swaim.
The middle school team, which as 16 swimmers, comprises Haley Bartoletta, Conlan Aquila, Ryan Childress, Jacob Gilmore, Avrie Crum, C.J. Guzman, Kassi Garrison, Jackson Harvin, Bree Hanson, Cole Holbrook, Lindsey Kelley, Nathaniel Torres, McKenzie Klinck, Caroline Mitchell, Abby Richardson and Anna Swaim.
The team has been practicing through the Lanier Aquatics team at the Gainesville YMCA where many of the swimmers already have club-team practice.
The goals of year one are centered around team building.
“Right now, we’re just trying to get started and get more swimmers,” Guzman said.
“The Sea Dragons have been around for a while long enough to have a strong middle school group. Really for the high school, it wasn’t as popular when they were little.”
Guzman said the team should have some swimmers that will qualify for the state meet. Swimmers achieving a qualifying time in an event at anytime this year will go to the state meet.
The high school team will swim in seven regular-season meets. The state meet is Feb. 8-9 at Georgia Tech.
The middle school team will swim in six meets.
Most of the teams Jefferson will compete against will be from Habersham, Forsyth and Hall counties.
“I’m ready to have the first meet to see what happens,” Guzman said.