PRC swim tests conditioning in third meet of the season

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, September 10, 2019

What was originally going to be a battle between the swim teams of Pass Christian, Long Beach, and Pearl River Central turned into a one on one after Long Beach withdrew.

That meant Blake Rutherford’s athletes from Pearl River Central’s swim team didn’t have the time in between events to recover they expected

It presented Rutherford and the team with a unique challenge they hadn’t yet faced in the first two meets of the year.

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The girls team won 113-28, and the boys team won 122-31.

Instead of focusing on the swimmers’ times, he instead wanted them to make sure their technique was correct and that they finished every race.

“We didn’t look at the times, and focused on the technical aspects of their strokes,” Rutherford said.

“They were really resilient at understanding that we have to swim four events in two hours.”

Each athlete had to participate in two events, plus two relays.

That left little down time for the majority of swimmers, but Rutherford said he was impressed with how his athletes pushed through the fatigue.

Rutherford had athletes swimming in a variety of events, and he does that to spread out the potential point earnings his team can accumulate.

“I want to be competitive, and the only way to do that is to have diversity,” Rutherford said.

The ability to adapt and do what is necessary for the better of the team is something Rutherford has stressed to his athletes.

Rutherford said freshman Grant Stewart stepped up, and did whatever events he asked of Stewart, while Senior Jonathan Stockstill stepped up as a leader for the team.

On the girl’s side of the competition, Rutherford said that seniors Lauren Coleman and Kelsey Dill picked up the slack, and performed well given the little rest they had in between events.

The team will have a nine-day layoff in between meets, and Rutherford plans on using that time to hone in on the details of swimming that his athletes still need to improve upon.

“We have to work on the little things that a lot of part time swimmers don’t think about because they haven’t done it enough to do it naturally,” Rutherford said.

“We need to do a better job on the technical aspects of the race.”

Additionally, Rutherford plans on using the extensive practice time to continue improving his athletes’ conditioning.

While it is unlikely there will be another meet in which the swimmers will have to compete in so many events with so little rest, Rutherford wants them to be prepared for anything.

The next meet the team competes in will represent the halfway mark of the season, and Rutherford said that his team is where he expected them to be at this point in the year.

“We’re right where we want to be,” Rutherford said.

“Now I just want all the swimmers to get south state times because then we’ll have more options.”

The team’s next meet will be the West Jones Invitational and is set to take place on Sept. 14. The start time of the event is to be determined.