MAKING WAVES: Top-notch JS swim team ready to start

Jersey Shore Area High School’s senior swim team are, from left, Kendra White, Emma Butzler, John Duda, Tyler Wirth, and Jacob Bower (Photo Provided)

JERSEY SHORE — The 2016-2017 season turned out pretty good for Jersey Shore Area High School swimmers.

A large contigent of eight girls and five boys were able to qualify for the PIAA District IV swim meet.

The women captured third (up from sixth the year before), and five of those girls were able to advance onto the PIAA state meet.

Jenna Brooks, third-year head coach, expects the same or better results this season.

“We are building off last year’s successes and trying to move more swimmers into districts and the state meet,” said Brooks. “I have already had the team do some time trials and they are doing very well, better than expected.”

It might not be too much of a stretch for Brooks’ vision to become reality as she has three returning state qualifiers, Emma Butzler, Kendra White, and Jordon O’Connor.

Also, a huge freshmen girls’ class added some depth to the team last year.

Now, one year later and a year of swimming under their belt, that now-sophomore class is ready to make some waves.

Veronica Sanders was one of those swimmers in the new class.

The sport was very new to her as she never swam in any of the winter or summer youth leagues before her inaugural high school season.

She is one of the reasons for Brooks’ optimism.

“It seems like she keeps dropping times every time she races,” said Brooks. “I don’t know when these drops slow down but I am excited to see where she can go.”

On the boys’ side, Brooks is also excited to see what junior Nash Berfield is going to bring to the pool.

His freshman year was a bit of a downer with injury issues and he sat out his sophomore year.

“I am really curious to see how well he can progress this season,” the coach said.

There are several anticipated match-ups this season.

For the girls, they start off their season when they visit Shamokin and PIAA State Champ Abby Doss.

The girls will also try to avenge their only loss last year – they finished 12-1 – when they meet up with Bloomsburg on Jan. 25.

And of course, both the boys and girls will begin their claim to the “Susquehanna Waters” with Central Mountain on Dec. 21, Williamsport on Jan. 3, and Montoursville on Jan. 9.

(This story was compiled by parent and volunteer Tom Butzler.)