SHORELINE — With a week to go until the first dual meet of the season, the Shorecrest girls swim team was already feeling the hurt.
First-year head coach Bill Murray introduced a new wrinkle to Shorecrest’s daily workout regimen: dry land exercises.
“The girls have never had to do any of this before,” Murray said. “They’re going to be sore.”
So sore, a few Scots attempted — albeit unsuccessfully — to bail out early.
“I’m all finished,” one out-of-breath swimmer informed Murray a few minutes into the drills.
But there was no fooling Murray, who peeked at the giant clock at the east end of the pool before offering his response.
“You’ve done all four stations?” he asked. “That would take 12 minutes. We’ve only been going for four.”
More demanding practices is just one of the upgrades the Scots can count on under Murray, who stepped down as Shorewood’s boys swim coach last spring to take over both the boys and girls programs at crosstown Shorecrest.
Murray feels the coaching change has gone so smoothly because he’s familiar with most of the girls through Kellogg Middle School or Sheridan Beach Swim Club’s summer team.
“A lot of it has to do with the fact these are former Kellogg students, where I teach,” Murray said. “I’ve had many of them as P.E. students or through swimming at Sheridan Beach.
“Every girl here knew I have a strong background coaching, so a lot of them were just waiting to see what the new program was going to be like.”
The feedback Murray has received so far from his swimmers has been nothing but positive.
“We’re off to a good start,” he said. “We’ve got a good core of experienced swimmers coming back. A lot of juniors and seniors.”
Shorecrest split its eight league meets in 2002 and placed fifth in the Western Conference 4A South Division.
Senior Liz Shdo is solid in the 500-yard freestyle and the Scots will also depend on her leadership and versatility.
“She’s someone who can do a little bit of everything,” Murray said. “She’s got a pretty strong repertoire of all four strokes. Distance has been her strong point the last couple years.”
Sophomore Fiona Sheridan-McIver also shines in the distance races and Murray pointed to junior breaststroker Jessica Hale and junior freestyler Lisa Magnusson as Shorecrest’s other standouts.
“We should be very competitive at the dual meet level because we’ve got a good section of kids we can move around,” Murray said. “We should be able to match up with teams pretty well. I think the kids will always feel pretty good coming out of our meets about how we performed.”
Sophomore diver Samantha Young is starting the season with visions of a state championship. Young finished third behind a pair of seniors at last year’s Class 3A state meet as a freshman.
“She’s one of the best in the state and possibly the favorite to win state this year,” Murray said. “She trained all summer and competed on the national level and did well. We’ve got very high hopes for her this year.”