The Hopkinsville swim team is set to begin its season next week after Christian County Public Schools gave the green light to begin the winter season on Thursday.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of in-person instruction in schools have dropped the team’s numbers for this season.
“Our numbers are down,” Hoptown coach Keith Marquess said. “It’s hard for our kids to get rides to practices. Parents work and they’re used to just walking from the middle school up to the high school pool and County had a bus that brought the kids to the pool. If they don’t have a ride they can’t get there.”
Also, the Tigers and Lady Tigers haven’t had consistent practice as of late heading into the year either.
“We just haven’t had consistency as far as practices go,” Marquess said. “We’ll swim for a couple of weeks, then we’re off. We get to swim again then we’re off again. That’s been the hardest thing to keep that fire underneath the kids.”
Despite the lack of consistency, Marquess said the kids are looking forward to getting the season started.
“They were looking forward to our first meet, but at the same time they knew we had only been in the water for about three weeks,” Marquess said. “But I told them it was going to be an opportunity to get off the blocks and to swim against faster people. It isn’t to bring you down.
“We’re looking forward to this coming Tuesday night when we swim against Allen County-Scottsville.”
Given all of the inconsistencies in the practice, having swimmers like Ella Falco and Chase Atkins lead the way is always a good thing.
“Ella is a very hard worker,” Marquess said. said. “It doesn’t matter what it is, she’s going to work hard. Not that the others don’t Ella just seems to kick it up an extra notch, as does Chase. It’s good for them to do that because the younger ones try to stay with them. It’s been kind of a win-win situation.”
The two will make pushes to return to the state swim meet again this year both individually and in relays. However, the team won’t have a very good idea of what the relay teams will look like until a later date.
“We can’t have relays in meets until February 1.,” Marquess said. “We won’t even know about our relays until February. I have been interested to see the bond with the girls. I think it’s there, but Lauren Montgomery isn’t swimming this year. I told the other three girls that it just opens the door for other girls to step up and find success.”
The goal for Marquess and her team is the same as last season, winning a region championship.
“Our region is very small,” she said. “Paducah (Tilghman) will be fairly strong this year. Madisonville lost a few girls but I think they have some young girls coming up.”
Hoptown will hit the pool next Tuesday.