Size could be an issue this season for the Hoosac Valley swim teams.
The girls’ team will feature just 21 girls, a low number compared to the 30-plus coach Eryn Brewer is used to having come out for the team. The boys’ team will have just six swimmers this season.
The girls’ squad will feature several new faces after the team lost several top swimmers to graduation. Seniors Cori Ghidotti and Alyssa Bush will also not be swimming for the Hurricanes this season.
Instead, Elizabeth Bernardy, Michaella Vecchiarelli and sisters Emma and Julia Whitney will look to lead this year’s Hurricanes.
"This year we have a lot of newer swimmers. We have a lot of people who have never swam competitively before," Brewer said. "These first few weeks are really a learning process. It’s about learning what a meet is and learning the basics like scoring and those things."
While Brewer expects her team to pick up a lot of first place finishes, winning a meet might be more difficult. Because the Hurricanes have such low numbers, second and third place finishes might be difficult to come by.
"Of course first place is important, but it’s the second and third place finishes that are really big," Brewer said. "Those finishes are what helps win meets."
That was shown in the Hurricanes second meet of the season against Mount Anthony. Hoosac won six of the 11 events, but still lost the meet 95-75. The team wasn’t able to capture a second-place finish in any of those six events.
Emma Whitney has already qualified for the Western Massachusetts meet in two events. She hit the qualifying times in the 200 freestyle and 500 free in the team’s first meet of the season Dec. 6.
With just six swimmers, it will be even harder for the boys to consistently be competitive on the team side of things. Instead, the Hurricanes will focus on individual improvement throughout the season.
"We don’t even have enough to swim in all the relay events," Brewer said. "Since we can’t swim all the events for the boys, I’m concentrating on getting them to swim better times. We’re hoping to see improvement through the year and work on qualifying for Western Mass. events."
Brewer expects Keith Pero and Mike DiSanti to be two of her stronger swimmers this year.
Pero has captured three individual victories through the team’s first two meets this season.
"This year, I’m trying to go into the season with an open mind," Brewer said. "We lost a lot of swimmers on both sides. We lost a lot of girls from our team last year. We have some talent this year, and I think it’s going to be a good year again."