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High school swimming notepad: Stafford girls off to fast start

SEE ALSO: Season’s Top Times

The Stafford girls swimming team is off to a good start this season, picking up right were it left off after a solid third-place showing at the Commonwealth District meet last year.

Indians coach John Raymond said the squad didn’t graduate a lot of talent from that group, and those swimmers who have returned have stepped up so far.

He also said depth has not been much of an issue as newcomers have also delivered and filled in where needed.

“The toughest part is trying to spread them out where they don’t beat up on each other,” said Raymond, who also coaches year-round swimming. “Get them to where they can help the team best.”

Stafford has at least two swimmers ranked in the top six in every event of the Free Lance–Star’s top local times list, while holding first in two relays and second in the other.

Raymond said the girls have impressed him so far and he is excited to see what the rest of the season will bring.

“My goal is to have each [swimmer] to be faster at the end of the year than they were at the beginning,” he said. “If everything else falls into place, then that’s icing on the cake.”

Raymond said the team is full of leaders, mentioning seniors Alli Lloyd and Liz Kleveno, plus Kara Sizemore and Maggie Howell, who lead a plethora of quality sophomores on the team.

Unlike the girls, the boys team struggled last year—finishing last at the district meet—but has made strides in the early going this season, according to Raymond.

Larger numbers on the boys team has been a key factor.

Juniors Chris Vaughn and Billy Howell, who are part of all three of the Indians’ top relay teams, were a couple of the swimmers Raymond noted as leading the team this season.

“We had more boys try out this year, which has helped,” he said. “They are scoring better, so I’m hoping they can surprise some people at the end.”

Stafford returns to action for the first time since before the holiday break when it takes on Brooke Point on Friday.

—Tom Leiss