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Picayune swim builds squad using tiered tryouts

Tryouts held by the Maroon Tide’s swim team this past week employed multiple components to test each swimmer’s abilities.

The 20 athletes that made the squad had to do three things in order to make the cut.

The first three days of the tryouts comprised mostly of getting the athletes acclimated to the environment while going through basic strokes.

Then on May 20 the official test began with athletes first having to swim a 50-meter freestyle in approximately 45 seconds.

The second part of the tryout required four laps in the pool with flip turns without stopping, and the final test was to do a 100-meter individual medley.

This involved doing all four competitive strokes; the breaststroke, butterfly stroke, freestyle stroke and backstroke.

This was not only a test of endurance, but also mental capacity.

Head Coach Rachael Rutherford instructed two of her veteran swimmers, Kylie Burnette and Ryder Burge, to teach the newcomers all of the specific strokes during the first couple days of tryouts. Rutherford wanted to see if the athletes not only had the stamina to go the distance, but also the ability to retain information on how to do each stroke after being taught earlier in the week. It was also a good chance for Burge and Burnette to show their leadership prior to the season even starting.

“For me to coach the whole pool I need to be on the deck to see all of the kids. It’s nice to have someone their age in Ryder and Kylie, who are the top swimmers in pool, for the (newcomers) to see that this is what it looks like,” Rutherford said.

Now that the team is set, there will be a couple of months before the squad meets back up again.

However, Rutherford is hoping the athletes will still be getting plenty of pool time, especially the swimmers new to the sport.

“For the younger ones it’s going to be about swimming laps in a pool. I can teach you how to swim, but if you don’t practice and get water time it doesn’t matter. It is a completely different feeling and it makes the muscles work in a different way,” Rutherford said.

While the squad is currently set at 20, if there are any interested athletes who didn’t make the tryouts Rutherford said there will be a secondary set of tryouts Aug. 10 after school starts back up again.