It will be a tough encore to follow for the Fallon swim teams.
Six swimmers reached the first-ever Division I-A state meet last season, but five of those graduated. Now, Ken Grimes’ club must replace the talent and keep improving.
Although several of the best swimmers in program history are gone, Grimes has recruited new talent and increased the roster on the boys side.
But there is little time to relax as the Greenwave jump into action at 1 p.m. today against Lowry at the Alf Sorensen Pool in Reno.
“I would like to see a win, but I would really like to see … our returning kids focusing on technique, and the new kids pick up what we are showing them,” Grimes said. “I’m hoping we have the numbers to outscore some teams this year.”
The boys, meanwhile, are paced by state qualifier Kyle Grimes, who nabbed a spot in the 100-yard backstroke last season. He qualified for the regional meet in every individual event, and earned a spot at state in the backstroke.
Grimes aims to reach state yet again, although he shows promise in several other events beside the back.
“He’ll be in the mix,” Ken Grimes said. “We will qualify for him in every event and then take it from there and see what his best shot is at regionals. I would like to see his backstroke get under 1 minute.”
Another key piece to the Wave’s improvement are Garrett Snooks, Davis Koenig and Zach Keener, who returns after a one-year hiatus.
As for relays, Keener, Haydn Klein, Kyle Grimes and Snooks are in line for the the medley team.
“We will build on that experience and look to qualify some of them for regionals,” Ken Grimes said. “I was talking with Davis and his backstroke is looking good and seems like his strong specialty.”
As for the Lady Wave, Katrina Ward, Sierra Bivens and Josie Bekiares are Fallon’s top returners. Ward qualified for state in the 200 medley relay last season, but gave up her spot for a departing senior.
This year, however, she aims to repeat her stellar performance from a season ago and reach state. Ken Grimes said Ward’s ability in the pool has continued to improve and her focus is driving Ward toward another standout season.
Bekiares, meanwhile, steadily improved last season and narrowly missed the cut for the regional meet.
The new faces, though, include Amber Revels, Tiana Owens and Kaelehn Nemeth, who swam with the Fallon Baraccudas swim club.
“My freshmen girls, I’m really excited to see them,” Grimes said.
Bivens, meanwhile, nearly qualified for state last season after a strong showing at the regional meet, while Addy Harmon adds depth to the 200 individual medley with Bivens.
“I think we got some real strong regional qualifiers,” Grimes said. “Katrina is back swimming the butterfly. We’ve got some talent and hoping to place in the regional finals.”
Fallon’s overall depth, meanwhile, has improved over last season. More boys fill out the roster, allowing Ken Grimes several options for the relay teams.
Last season, only four to five swimmers competed in the relays and the low numbers put the focus on individual times and not winning meets.
This season, though, Grimes said he believes the boys can swim to win while shooting for regional qualifying marks.
“I was just trying to get the kids to recruit their friends who weren’t doing anything, that’s a big part of it,” Grimes said of the increase. “We had some success last year, I think that helped. We worked all year talking about the program. It was mostly the kids (recruiting).”
As the season commences, Grimes’ early-season workouts consist of endurance and core strengthening. In addition, Grimes and assistant coach Kristy Bekiares hold a morning practice and an afternoon session, allowing the athletes an adjustment period to open the year.
“I have been real flexible with the practice time,” Grimes said. “I think that is one reason the program has grown. I’ve had four to six kids show up in the morning.”