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SHEPHERDSVILLE - After losing one of the state’s top swimmers the past several seasons, North Bullitt’s Caroline Lee, the Bullitt County swimming program has refocused its efforts on building depth.
Once again, the five-year old program has about 30 swimmers taking part under the direction of head coach Laura (Flischel) Meyer. Meyer, who got married in the fall, is the only coach the program has had.
Despite the fact that Bullitt Central has only one swimmer this season, the overall numbers for the program have once again settled at around 30 swimmers. Meyer believes that the participation will stay around that number until Bullitt County gets an indoor swimming facility. At this point, the team trains three days a week in Louisville.
“We don’t have a recruiting budget,” Meyer said with a smile. “It’s just word of mouth. We have a website and a facebook page. It’s just kids talking to each other.”
Nine of the 30 swimmers are on the team for the first time. Most of those are swimming competitively for the first time. The team could have been slightly larger this year, but Meyer opted to draw the line at no swimmers who have not entered the seventh-grade. In the past, the team has had some sixth-graders.
“It could have been six or seven more,” the coach said of the overall numbers.
As in the past, all the swimmers train together, but then compete for their individual schools when it comes to meets. That includes next week’s Region 2 meet that will be held at the Ralph Wright Natatorium on the University of Louisville campus.
While Lee was a sure thing to advance out of the regionals, that won’t be the case this season, although, Meyer believes that a number of swimmers have a chance to advance to the state championships which will be held at the University of Louisville two weeks after the regional.
Bullitt County has competed in five events this season. Recently at the Overflow Invitational at Fort Knox, the North Bullitt girls finished second to Fort Knox while Bullitt East was fourth and Bullitt Central sixth. On the boys’ side, North Bullitt was fourth (Bullitt East did not compete that day in the boys’ meet).
Two weeks before that, at the Rock the Blocks Meet at the Mary T. Meagher Natatorium, the Bullitt East boys made a strong showing, finishing fifth out of 11 teams. The North Bullitt girls were tenth that day out of 16 teams.
For most of the season, the North Bullitt girls have been scoring better on that side of the ledger while the Bullitt East boys have been outpointing North Bullitt.
At a recent practice at the University of Louisville, the Bullitt County crew had four lanes for a one-hour workout. Meyer oversaw the more advanced swimmers in two lanes while her sister, volunteer coach Katie Flischel, worked with the younger and less experienced swimmers in the other lanes.
Heading into the regionals next week, Meyer is looking for several swimmers and relay teams to advance to the state championships. Bullitt East senior Mason Turlington has already done that twice before and he will be competing in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Another Bullitt East swimmer, Alex Cooke is a possibility in the 100 freestyle and backstroke. Freshman Kelli Rae Alcorn is strong in the 200 individual medley and the 100 freestyle.
The North Bullitt and Bullitt East girls will field teams in all three of the relays, but the two boys’ squads will probably each only have two relays. Still, Meyer belives the Bullitt East relays of Turlington, Cooke, Nick Crawhorn and Evan Reister could challenge for a spot in the state meet.
“I have four swimmers who I think have really stepped up to the plate,” Meyer said. “They have been great leaders and cheer on the other swimmers.
Only five of the Bullitt County swimmers are involved in year-round programs, either in Louisville or Elizabethtown.
“I think we have some pretty strong swimmers for not having many who do it year-round,” Meyer said. “Overall, I think we do pretty well.”
The third member of the coaching staff is Kim Alcorn who is the assistant coach who handles most of the paperwork.
“I couldn’t do it without my assistant coaches,” Meyer said. “It’s tough to handle four lanes without their help. I definitely appreciate them.”
Team members for each school include:
Bullitt Central - Alex Skidmore.
Bullitt East - Kelli Rae Alcorn, Emily Brumley, Todd Brumley, Kyarra Carroll. Alex Cooke, Nick Crawhorn, Sydney Hill. Lindsey Miles, Ashley Moats, Evan Reister, Paige Schabel, Madison Spencer, Mason Turlington, Sydney White and Katie Yates.
North Bullitt - Megan Allen, Blake Caudill, Chase Caudill, Austin Clark, Chris Glock, Madison Holland, Brixton Jacobs, Nathan Lee, Samantha Kenney, Megan Kottak, Abigail Potts, Katie Schmidt, Emily Schmidt, Callie Sparks, and Brooke White.