DWS swimming, 2011 style

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

In 2005, the Deerfield-Windsor swimming program had two swimmers who represented the school at GISA state meets.

In 2006, the program was revamped with a roster of eleven, uniforms, two coaches and organized school practices. That first year, there were five eighth graders swimming on the varsity team, so we could field relays and a varsity team, but no JV swimmers.

Most of the swimmers had never even done the sport before.

DWS scored a total of 3 points that year at the GISA state meet.

Fast-forward to 2010.

This time, DWS brought a team of nearly 40 swimmers at both the varsity and JV level to Georgia Tech for the state meet on Feb. 4 and everyone was introduced to a new era of DWS swimmers.

With their bold red warm-ups and red caps, they had a new attitude, since they were now one of the largest teams in GISA.

DWS scored 189 points, the second highest total in points in GISA that day -- with one individual state champion -- and a JV girls team that took the state trophy back to Albany.

Not only did DWS swimmers take up a lot of room on the pool deck, they took up a lot of space on the awards podium.

Deerfield swimmers also started to be more recruited by colleges.

From the high school program alone, DWS had three swimmers recruited for college swimming, with one swimmer making a Division I program.

This year, DWS has a roster of 34 swimmers -- varsity and JV. Many have swum for several seasons, and the varsity boys team is one of the best in GISA.

In 2006, no swimmers swam year-round for DWS, but today, twelve swimmers on DWS do just that with local competitive club teams, enhancing the high school program.

Now let's meet the teams.

The boys varsity squad is captained by senior Taylor Withers, a three-time state champ and two-time All-State GISA swimmer.

Taylor trains 10 times a week with Quad A swim club, splitting practices between Albany and Americus for middle distance and sprint training. Taylor is the team's top sprinter and brings experience and leadership to this year's boys team.

Ashton Wahbeh, a freshman and newcomer to the varsity team, is now training seven to eight times a week with Quad A and brings depth to the distance program. Ashton is one of the top swimmers in GISA in the 500 freestyle and is expected to place in both the 200 free and 500 free.

Matthew Fox, another freshman and newcomer, is the second fastest sprinter on the team. His speed makes the DWS relay teams one of the top this year.

Beau Sinyard is an experienced senior who specializes in sprints and breaststroke to round out the top seeded relays. Add returning sophomores Daniel Cheshire and Mike Gutierrez and senior Daniel Talley to the mix, and it gives the boys team talent unheard of in years past -- a second boys varsity relay.

Cheshire and Gutierrez are both sprinters and versatile with strokes, while Talley brings endurance from the cross country season and applies it to swimming.

Brent Goldsmith and Nathan McLendon -- both year-round swimmers with DART and Quad A respectively-- swim five-plus times a week and have both moved up to varsity this year as freshmen.

Brent focuses on breaststroke and Nathan brings depth to backstroke and middle distance events.

Marcus Gouthro and Thay Hall are new swimmers and freshman who round out the boys' varsity team for the season.

As for the girls team, senior Savannah Hughes is the captain. She has swum for DWS since eighth grade.

Savannah has been part of DWS relays team which have placed at state for the last several years. She is one of the top sprinters on the girl's team.

Hannah Bowe, Rena Divine, Camille Fox and Caroline Hawkins form the backbone of the girls team. These four girls can swim any distance and any stroke.

Senior Caroline Hawkins was the girls' high-point winner last season, and brings her pure athleticism again this year. She is one of the top swimmers in the butterfly and all distances.

Junior Hannah Bowe trains seven times a week at DART, focusing on distance. Hannah can do any stroke on the relay and perform well from the 50 free to the 500 free.

Junior Rena Divine is one of the top sprinters and backstrokers on the team and one of the varsity girls who placed at state last year.

Junior Camille Fox is a middle distance swimmer who builds on her cross country season, and also placed at state last season.

Haley Daughtry is an eighth grader who is competing for varsity this year. This is the second time in six seasons that an eighth grader has been moved to varsity. Haley trains six-to-seven times a week with Quad A and is the top female swimmer this season. Her versatility and speed bring strength to both individual and relay events.

Haley and Emily McPeters, a freshman who moved up to varsity, both were members of the JV state championship team last season.

Emily brings experience and speed in the breaststroke and sprint events. Emily trains with DART throughout the year.

Rounding out the girls roster is junior Emily Duvall and sophomore Marlee Skinner, both who focus on sprint freestyle events.

So far, the boys varsity team has won its first two meets, while the varsity girls won the first meet, and came in second in the most recent meet at Stratford.

So what's next for DWS swimming?

The team heads to Georgia Tech again for the biggest meet of the season on Jan. 8, then hosts its last regular season meet at Albany State University on Jan. 22 before preparing for the state meet at Georgia Tech on Feb. 5.

And if history is any indication, it's shaping up to be the best year yet for Deerfield-Windsor swimming.