GSA swim team features mix of experience

The 2017-18 George Stevens Academy swim team

The 2017-18 George Stevens Academy swim team. By Monique Labbe

In front from left, Laura Liu, Ange Ineza, montana Van Duijn, Ellie Gellerson, Ava Sealander and Elana Bakeman. In back, from left, are Matt Billings, John Zhang, Evan Song, Franklin Sealander, Randy Tianhao, Henry Scheff, Jiachen Wang, Chris Bennett, Jeremiah Scheff, elias reyes Fox, Simon Tianxi, Alex Fu, Eric Cai and Carlos Dia.

Blue Hill—As the George Stevens Academy swim team enters its fifth season of varsity competition, head coach Don Driscoll is already excited about the team’s improvements, from the swimmers’ skills to the amount of swimmers that will take to the pool this season.

At 21 swimmers, the team is already bigger than last year’s, and with returning athletes such as Ava Sealander and Jeremiah Scheff, the Eagles could find success against bigger teams such as Ellsworth High School and John Bapst.

“It’s tough, because those schools are in our division and have teams with over 30 to 40 kids on them,” said Driscoll. “But we keep improving every year. The number one goal is to be in shape, improve stroke technique and get better off the blocks.”

Sealander’s younger brother, Franklin, and Scheff’s younger brother, Henry, will join the team as freshmen this year. The two will provide some needed experience at the younger grade levels, while the older two will serve as captains.

The experience on the team is balanced by novice swimmers, many of whom are in their first year in competitive swim.

“We have kids who can swim the freestyle, but they aren’t as familiar with the other strokes [like the backstroke and butterfly],” he said.

Other notable returning swimmers this season include Ellie Gellerson, Katie Forest and Alex Yap, all of whom recorded top finishes in various meets last year.

Highlighting the most improved category on the team this year is senior Matt Billings, who Driscoll said has been a great source of enthusiasm at practices and meets.

“[Billings] has come a long way, he’s such a great kid,” said Driscoll.

The team will kick off competition with rival Ellsworth at 7 p.m. December 12 at the Ellsworth YMCA.

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