MILL CREEK — Whatever rust the Jackson boys swim team was feeling in last Tuesday’s dual meet against Shorecrest wasn’t apparent.
Despite swimming in their first competition in about three and a half weeks, the Timberwolves had no problem with the undermanned Scots.
Jackson won every individual and relay event on its way to crushing Shorecrest 123-45 in a Western Conference 4A South Division competition at Mill Creek Pool.
Wolfpack coach Drew Whorley admitted he was somewhat curious to see how his team responded after the lengthy layoff.
“A good part of the group did a lot of training over Christmas and others weren’t as consistent as they probably should have been,” Whorley said. “All in all we are off to a really good start.”
Senior Josiah Pleasant took first in the 200-yard freestyle (2:01.10) and the 100 backstroke (1:01.68) and swam on winning 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams. Teammate Peter Mullins captured the 50 freestyle (23.96) and the 100 breaststroke (1:04.11).
“The guys that committed to coming in and doing a lot of practice over the holiday season swam really well,” Whorley said. “We dropped a lot of time.”
Senior Johnny Quackenbush faced the biggest challenge of the meet in swimming the 100 and 500 freestyles back-to-back.
Quackenbush won both races and his times were close to his best all season (100 freestyle, 54.94; 500 freestyle, 5:22.92).
“My 500 was a second off my season’s best. That’s great after swimming the 100,” Quackenbush said. “My 100 … was a couple of tenths off my season’s best. I felt good with that.”
Whorley was looking for a way to challenge Quackenbush and decided that having to swim back-to-back events was a way to accomplish that goal.
“I kind of wanted to challenge him sometimes to do different things,” Whorley said. “I think if he can get up and swim a fast 100 and then come back and swim a fast 500 freestyle right after it, that is going to better prepare him to swim just a fast 500 freestyle by itself when we get to districts … it’s a great opportunity to kind of throw some different stuff at them and see how they respond to it.
“I think in the end it just makes them tougher.”
Other individual Jackson winners included Andrew Mullins in the 200 individual medley (2:11.90) and Ben Ramos in the 100 butterfly (1:02.80).
Everyone to pointing toward the district meet, which is about a month away.
“If we get five or so of the newer guys in, then we’ll be able to take districts,” Quackenbush said.
Whorley is seeing some significant progress from the newcomers and the less experienced members of the team.
Jackson’s depth was what was most impressive to Whorley.
“The guys that are swimming the JV 50 and 100 freestyles and our C relays, those are the guys right now that I think are really kind of carrying the team in a lot of ways,” Whorley said.
The seniors and other upperclassmen look at progress of the younger swimmers and can’t help but be inspired.
“They are seeing how much they’re putting in it and they’re seeing how much they’re improving,” Whorley said. “To watch the lower end guys start to come and really score points for us and challenge us, that to me is the most exciting thing we’ve got going on now.”