Swimming pool with lane markers ready for a meet

With an attitude of appreciation, local swim teams from Fort Mill are ready to get back to competition in the water.

All three high school swim teams have returned to practice and are nearing competition. The swim season is roughly five weeks long and is the shortest of the fall sports season affected by COVID-19. The season starts Sept. 3 for both Fort Mill and Nation Ford. The 4A state meet is scheduled for Oct. 10 and the 5A state meet is scheduled for Oct. 12.

Because of the coronavirus, schedules and dates of key meets, such as the state meet, can change.

Nation Ford

The Falcons are coming into the season off a runner-up placement in the state for the boys’ and a top 10 for the girls’ team. They have 35 swimmers on this year’s squad – 20 girls and 15 boys.

“We are thankful we are having a season,” said head coach Lori Glasco. “We have a good amount of new people this year. It is a rebuilding year for us.”

Nation Ford opens Sept. 3 against Clover and Boiling Springs on the road. Despite graduating five seniors from last year’s boys’ team, Glasco feels good about the team overall.

“We still got a really strong team,” she said.

All three local swim teams will be utilizing the new pool of the Fort Mill Aquatics Center (FMAC) that opened last year right after the state meets. Nation Ford only has two home meets, one of which is against Fort Mill and Catawba Ridge Sept. 24 and the other one is against Gaffney and Indian Land Sept. 10.

Fort Mill

The Jackets return a good number of swimmers this year with 47 athletes. There are 23 girls and 24 boys on each of their respective teams.

“I think its going to be a good year,” said head coach Cindy Van Buskirk. “It is a great crew and they are practicing hard. I am excited to have a season.”

This year’s team will only have four seniors on it for the Jackets. Fort Mill will have six meets starting Sept. 3 with a tri-meet. The majority of their meets will be at home at the FMAC.

This year’s Region 3-5A meet will be at the FMAC for both the Jackets and Nation Ford. The meet will be roughly a month after the season starts.

“It’s going to be a lean and mean season,” Van Buskirk said. “We are all living by silver linings. I am thrilled the S.C. High School League moved forward with our sport. It is short, but we are embracing it for what it is. We are taking it for the blessing it is.”

Catawba Ridge

Numbers are up for the Copperheads on their swim team. Last season, their first in the pool, Catawba Ridge had 18 swimmers. This year they have 25 with 13 girls and 12 boys on the team.

“We have got a lot of swimmers that are standouts in stroke categories,” said head coach Olivia May. “I am surprised at how many swimmers came out and the quality of swimmers we got.”

The Copperheads schedule is still in flux as they are trying to add meets, but that isn’t easy with the shortest season this fall.

Catawba Ridge has their first meet Sept. 15 against Lancaster and Indian Land at the FMAC. They will also be participating in the Fort Mill Fallout Sept. 24 against Fort Mill and Nation Ford at the FMAC.

For the most part, Catawba Ridge has a lot of home meets with three of their four regular season swim meets being at the FMAC, even if some of those meets, they aren’t listed as the home team. Being at 4A this year, May said the meets will be more of a challenge.

“I feel good about where we stack up against our region,” she said. “I feel like our team has a good chance this year. We have a lot of strong potential in years to come.”

Mac Banks: mac@fortmillprepsports.com, @fortprep