Swimming for most of us is a relaxing activity or a good part of exercising to work out the whole body. For others, its a sport, and for the girls of the BRF swim team, it’s something they take seriously.

Coach Cathy Mathson said her squad has a good amount of depth already and their meet in Colby gave good benchmarks for how the girls can improve.

Meets are important for individual sports like swimming so Mathson can see exactly how each girl is improving and where work is needed overall.

“You could really see when they were next to someone with similar talent that they were trying and pushing that extra effort,” Mathson said.

Last year the swim team only won one meet overall, but with a roster of returning talent, the Tigers expect to increase that number.

One such returning swimmer is Lauren Steien, who made state last year and now returns to not only improve herself, but her team as well.

Mathson’s squad improved in numbers this year with 14 girls showing up to swim, returning eight and only losing one, which means there’s a lot of Tigers returning with experience under their swim caps.

“We’re looking pretty good this year, we added four real strong swimmers to the team this year,” Mathson said.

With a lot of returners, it also helps give the coach a good idea of what she already has on her team and what improvements can be made.

The mix of new, young talent with experienced upperclassmen will give the Tigers a good chance against the competition.

It also helps that Lauren Steien is returning to the team after appearing in state last year for a few different events.

Steien also walked away the overall winner from the meet in Colby early in the season.

“That gives something for all these girls to look up to and say ‘I want to be like her,’” Mathson said.

There’s already a lot of excitement among the girls who are excited to be back in the water and competing again.

Mathson has worked with some of the girls when they were younger who are now returning with some more experience behind them.

The Tigers look to have a good roster of butterfly and breast stroke swimmers according to the coach, making the goal of winning more and more attainable.

Mathson said their main goal though is to constantly push improvement and beat personal records as much as possible.

BRF will get to host a couple of swim meets this season and hopefully that cutting down on travel will help the Tigers perform.

One of the biggest struggles for her team, Mathson said, is all the travel it takes for swim teams since they aren’t in a conference and often travel long distances.

There is some hope a conference can come together eventually, but there is a problem of pulling together a few more teams to fill it out.

Conference or no, Mathson said the outlook for her team is wide open and they have the ability to succeed at any level.

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Stephen Knoll is a reporter for Jackson County Chronicle. Contact him at 715-284-0085.

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