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A special season has begun for the Jennings County boys and girls swimming teams.
All of the pieces are already in place for a successful sectional in March.
“We could be the best swim team in the history of Jennings County,” junior Devin Vanosdol said. “We’re a close-knit team that is very strong. We all get along well, and we have positive
All of the Panthers return from last season. After giving birth to her first child in March, however, former head coach Sarah Dillon resigned. Her husband and her former assistant coach, Bill Dillon, is now the Panthers’ head coach.
“I told Sarah I’d quit coaching swimming and stay home with our daughter if that’s what she wanted,” Bill Dillon said. “She wouldn’t even think about that. She knew how much I’d been looking forward to this season.”
Vanosdol said that Bill Dillon can help the Panthers realize their potential this season because swimmers want to work hard
“We’re more motivated this season,” Vanosdol said. “We realize what’s possible this season. We always work hard, but I think we’re working harder this season because Bill Dillon has been around more often.”
During a recent dual meet against Columbus North, sophomore Trever Wilson broke the school record in the 500 freestyle, completing the event in 5 minutes.
The achievement surprised Bill Dillon because of Wilson’s closing burst of speed during the race.
“Halfway through the race, I didn’t think he’d break the record,” Bill Dillon said. “But, he gained two or three seconds in the last 100 yards. He’s really
Bill Dillon hopes that five school records will be broken this season. The boys team has broken at least one relay record during the past four years. Last year, Skyler Moore, Devin Vanosdol and Trever Wilson broke the 400 freestyle relay mark.
“That tells me we have a good team,” Bill Dillon said. “It’s not just one or two kids doing it, but a whole bunch of them. When we swam against Columbus North on Monday, the boys and the girls each won one event, but we didn’t give up. We were competitive, and a lot of our swimmers were happy with their times.”
One Panther courageously fought through flu-like symptoms during the Columbus North meet.
“Skyler Moore kept swimming after he threw up midway through the meet,” Bill Dillon said. “I would have taken him out if he’d asked me to, but he didn’t want to come out. If there was a brick wall in the pool, he’d swim through it.”
The girls won their opening meet against Salem and Providence as senior Julie Doran won the 100 freestyle. Doran also won the 100 free against Columbus North.
“It’s really competitive in practice, but I’m usually leading,” she said. “I want to beat my teammates even more than I beat my opponents.”
Doran thinks that the 200 free relay and 400 free relay squads will improve because of the addition of freshman Megan Koons.
“She’s going to be a middle-distance swimmer for us this season,” Doran said.
“(Koons) works really hard and swims year-round. She’s really fast, and she’s totally committed to the sport.”
Bill Dillon already is looking ahead the sectional and is encouraged by the development of his teams.
“I think the girls team can improve from their fifth-place finish last year,” he said. “I think the boys can finish in the top three of the sectional. Neither team has ever finished in the top three before.
“We’ve picked up right where we left off last season, and we’re only going to get better.”
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