Jack Winslow

Jack Winslow comes up for air during practice last week as the Douglas boys prepare to open their season Friday in Buffalo.

Douglas swim coach Stacy Wood may be sitting in the big chair for the first time with the boys swim team, but she’s plenty familiar with the swimmers under her charge. An assistant with the team the previous three years, Wood has long been involved with the Cats in the pool.

“A lot of these kids, I coached in age group swimming,” she said. “It’s been cool to see that progression.”

The goals are simple: cut time and have a good season. Getting a little faster each week is the key to success, and bringing more boys to the state meet should help the team place a bit higher.

The boys under her charge have a tall task ahead of them. A season ago, seven Bearcats swam in the state meet in Gillette. Two of those swimmers have since graduated, but with 17 swimmers slated to join the team this year, including several new faces, there are plenty of opportunities to build the program and climb the rankings to take on perennial powerhouse Lander.

To do that, the boys will have to cut time each week and become a team. Like track or tennis, swimming is a highly individual sport. Times are tracked to the millisecond, but there’s no one to push a swimmer to the finish line the way there is with a runner crossing the goal line in football. Teammates push each other in practice and provide critical encouragement at meets. That’s why building camaraderie is the biggest goal for Wood this season.

“Developing a team is the most important thing for me,” she said, “coming together, focusing on the relays, encouraging each other. In the past several years, they’ve become like a family throughout the season and it’s really cool to watch it happen.”

Schedule

Dec. 10: @ Buffalo, 4 p.m.

Dec. 11: @ Rawlins Pentathlon, 12 p.m.

Dec. 17: @ Lander Invite, 4 p.m.

Dec. 18: @ Riverton Invite, 10 a.m.

Jan. 6: vs. Rawlins, 4 p.m.

Jan 7: @ Cody, 4 p.m.

Jan. 8: @ Powell, 10 a.m.

Jan. 13: vs. Buffalo 4 p.m.

Jan. 15: Douglas Invite, 10 a.m.

Jan. 20: @ Newcastle, 4 p.m.

Jan. 22: @ Bruce Gresley Invite (Lander), 11 a.m.

Jan. 28: @ Gillette Pre-Invite (Campbell County HS), 3 p.m.

Jan. 29: @ Gillette Invite (Campbell County HS), 8 a.m.

Feb. 4: Absaraka Conference Meet (Douglas), 2 p.m.

Feb. 5: Absaraka Conference Meet (Douglas), 10 a.m.

Feb. 11: @ Last Chance Meet (Campbell County HS), 4 p.m.

Feb. 17-18: 3A State Meet (Gillette)

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