ELKINS – Elkins High School will begin the swimming season at noon Saturday when it hosts the Autumn Invitational at Davis & Elkins College.
Ten area high school teams will be competing in a total of 22 events at the renovated George A. Myles Pool.
Nearly $914,000 in contributions allowed the college to make a bevy of improvements to the facility, including the new slanted roof, a new ventilation system, digital pace clocks for lap swimmers and renovations to the men’s and women’s locker rooms.
The Tigers girls will enter the season without former standout Delaney Johnson, who is now swimming for Princeton University.
However, new coach Joelle Kenney says her team is ready. Kenney replaces Jean Schmidt, who stepped down last year after six seasons at the helm.
“We have a lot of new swimmers who have been working very hard over the last few weeks, along with our veteran swimmers,” Kenney said. “They are all looking forward to getting the season started.”
Kenney and assistant coach, Aimee Cain, will field a strong group of veteran female swimmers.
Samantha Hall, the reigning state champion in the 50 freestyle comes back, as does senior Kayla Gainer, who was a member of the 200 freestyle that captured a state title last year, and 400 freestyle relay team that placed third.
Rounding out a solid core of returners is Lauren Cain, Skout Barger, Taylor Lee, Abby Fincham and Amy Fincham.
New members on the team expected to make good showings include, Megan Broschart, Destiny Brown, Cayla Collett, Kodi Harlan, Abby Harman, Hailea Harper, Grace Lindsay, Kalee Schotsch, Breanna Shreve, Jade Thompson and Skylee Watson.
Returning for the EHS boys will be Tyler Kenney, Brendan Cain and Mason Ariola.
Newcomers include freshman Brendan Wallace, Keenen Bowers, Ben Daft, Remington Knight and Thabo Madzimure.
Last season, the Elkins girls team placed fourth in the state meet held at the WVU Natatorium in Morgantown, while the boys were seventh.
Other schools competing in the Autumn Invitational on Saturday include Buckhannon-Upshur, Bridgeport, Fairmont Senior, Hampshire, Liberty, Lincoln, North Marion, Philip Barbour and Robert C. Byrd.