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Murray Journal

Murray swimming enters new region with lofty goals

Dec 01, 2023 11:26AM ● By Josh McFadden

Moving to the 4A classification has brought a lot of uncertainty and curiosity to Murray High School teams. This is true for the swim team, which enters the 2023–24 campaign ready to compete against some new opponents. 

Still, the Spartans aren’t shy about setting a high bar. 

“We are new to the 4A classification this year, so we don’t really know exactly what to expect,” head coach Adam Huff said. “But we have been looking really strong in the early part of the season. We have a goal as a team to be region champions, and we think if we work hard and have a great season, we have a chance to be the 4A state champions.”

Huff said the team doesn’t need to win region or state to be successful. If the swimmers show dedication and put forth their best effort, he believes good things will happen. Winning meets and bringing home championships will depend on many factors, including younger swimmers stepping up and other competitors improving their times. 

“For our season to be a success, our swimmers have to know that they gave everything they had to this season,” he said. “If they show up, work their hardest and do their best every day, then I can’t think of a better measuring stick for success. In order for us to achieve our goals, we need the whole team to buy in and contribute. We have some fantastic swimmers who are likely going to be state champions in their events, but that won’t be enough. We need other swimmers to score points and make goals to finish in the top 10. It’s going to take our entire team for us to achieve our goals this year.”

Several swimmers are back for the Spartans this season who placed at state a year ago. Huff is counting on them to contribute to the team and repeat or even surpass their performances from last season. 

Senior team captain Zach Richter is one to watch. He swims the 200-meter individual medley and the 100 breaststroke. He also holds school records. Another record-holder is sophomore Kathleen Richter, who excels in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Senior Maren Walton, a team captain, will swim the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle this season. Seniors Estrella Underwood and Natalynn Davies are also team captains. They swim the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle and the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle, respectively. Juniors Riser Lundberg (200 IM and 100 breaststroke), Aiden Martin (50 freestyle and 100 freestyle) and Adelaide Stoddard (100 butterfly and 100 backstroke) should have big seasons as well. 

Bolstering the team and adding depth are plenty of other capable swimmers. Huff highlighted Audrey Gale, Kinlee Cook, Brooklyn Richter, Elsie Shumway, Jordan Fitts, Bridger Davies, Jarom Horne, Rowan Morris, Keaton Ashcroft, Mckay Wendt, Zane Learned, Joshua Johnson, Marcus Richter and Jax Brimley.

“There is no secret to what makes a great swimmer great,” Huff said. “It is just hard work. These swimmers work extremely hard both in and out of the pool. They are focused and dedicated. They support each other. They work through the tough times. They enjoy being with each other. They are great swimmers, teammates, leaders, students and people.”

Murray will be tough to beat in the pool this season. Huff said the Spartans are focusing on being a good sprinting team and breaking team relay records. There are also many challenging aspects to competitive swimming that Murray—and all teams—face. The season is long, as the team starts training in September, and the state meet is in mid-February.

“Over nearly six months, it is very easy to become discouraged and lose focus, especially if you feel like the work isn’t producing the desired results,” he said. “Keeping our eye on the end goal helps, but it can still be difficult to show up in the early morning every day. One thing we focus on is the out-of-the-pool activities. These kids work so hard in the pool, but it’s also important to take breaks and spend time together doing something fun that has nothing to do with swimming. Taking those breaks and having fun together as a team can build trust and excitement and helps them to work even harder when they are in the water.”

Murray not only has talented swimmers, but many of the team members do well in the classroom. Huff said more than half the team finished the most recent term with a 3.8 GPA or higher. Most of the swimmers also have many responsibilities outside of school and the pool, including jobs and family commitments. He is impressed with the discipline and devotion the swimmers show. 

“The amount of work that these kids take on is astounding,” Huff said. “And they do it so successfully and with a great attitude (most of the time). It is really fun to coach a group of kids like that. Especially when they have a common goal that they are pursuing.”

Murray swimming should be a fixture in its new region in 4A for a long time. Nearly half of the swimmers on the team are freshmen. Huff is excited about the present and the future.

“We are set up to really strong for quite a few years,” he said. “Our freshman class is great now, and in a few years, they will be a force to be reckoned with. I want Murray swimming to establish a culture of excellence and dominance for years to come.” λ