It includes 23 swimmers who had their first workout Monday, some swimming nearly 4½ miles, one 25-yard lap at a time, in their first day in the school’s new pool.
After practicing at West High, the Jaguars are ready to put their $1.3 million pool to good use, as long as the weather cooperates. Their practices won’t be rained out, but on Wednesday, swimmers showed up to watch a lightning storm to the north, went into the main gym lobby for roll call and then went home.
On Thursday, they returned for their second workout at their home venue.
“We were all very excited to get into the pool,” said freshman Trent Gronow, one of the swimmers who has experience from recreational and competitive teams, including Manteca Aquatics, which competes year-round.
“It’s brand new. It’s our pool. We used to be on recreational teams, but this is Kimball High’s pool. It’s our high school pride.”
Kimball head coach Justine Webb, who previously was the assistant coach at Tracy High, expects that as many as half a dozen of her swimmers will qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section meet at the junior varsity level once the team begins its dual meets.
“I expect our relay teams will qualify, as well,” she said.
Freshman Michaela Loomis has already logged qualifying times, but she needs to repeat that performance in a dual meet against another school to reach the section trials. Her mother, Michelle Loomis, is also involved with the team as an assistant coach.
“She and coach Webb, both of them are going to make us work really hard. We’re going to be a great team,” the freshman said. “I’m just excited about how the season will start.”
Webb and her swimmers will treat every meet against Tri-City Athletic League teams as if they’re varsity contests.
They will begin their competitive season Friday, when the team from Tracy High visits Kimball High for the Jaguars’ only home meet this year.
Webb said recruiting a team for the young school wasn’t hard at all. Kimball has enough students who have competed for the Tracy Tritons swim club or Manteca Aquatics, plus some who swam at Tracy or West and some who played water polo in the fall. While it’s a relatively small team, the swimmers still have big hopes for the season ahead.
“We all cheer each other on, and that will give us even more confidence,” freshman Sydnie Black said.
The team had 31 potential swimmers at its first meeting, which was whittled down to 23 after some of them saw how hard the workouts would be.
“It’s a good starting lineup for a frosh-soph school,” Webb said. “Senior year, we’ll probably double that, so we’ll be up to where Tracy is, with 40-something swimmers, by the time we’re a full-fledged high school. I’m pretty happy with our numbers.”