“Expectations for the girls team are very high this year,” Come said. “We hope to be a top 5 team if not better when we get to the district championship meet.”
One team goal he sees as the carrot dangled out in front is the 43 year old 400 Freestyle Relay that the team was only 1.25 seconds off last year. “That one is also special to me,” said Come. “Because my old coach, Judy Lesko, was on that relay team in 1981.
Come knows the competition is tough in the area and keeps his expectations in check, while pushing his team to improve. “Individually some of the girls are hoping to improve their times enough to qualify for the State Championship meet,” he said. “That might be a tall order, but I would be really excited to get girls to states for the first time in 12 years.”
In the region are perennial powerhouses Franklin, Oil City and Slippery Rock. “Slippery Rock has some strong swimmers back, but graduated 5 key pieces to their team. And Oil City’s YMCA program has been doing a tremendous job feeding into their high school program,” Come said.
He also credited Warren’s program in the district as a tough early season challenge though not a regional matchup.”I expect that one to come down to the wire and am very excited about that dual meet,” Come said.
He said losing Emma Slocum to graduation is tough on leadership, but is hoping some of his other talented swimmers will step up.
Perhaps the biggest news coming from the pool is the school is bringing back diving for the first time in 15 years.
“Coach Mike Allison was hired this fall to fill the position that hasn’t been filled since Gary Clark was here back in 2009(2010 season), Come explained. “Coach Alison got a chance to volunteer last year and allowed a few girls who were interested the opportunity to compete in a shortened season. This year we will be diving every home meet and each diver will have the opportunity to participate in two invitationals. We have one boy and three girls, all seniors, out for diving this season. We are hoping to generate buzz about the event so we can sustain the program for the future.”