The Faribault boys swimming and diving team competed in its first meet at Faribault High School on Dec. 5, when the Falcons hosted Winona.
Faribault coach Charlie Fuller said he came away impressed with his team's start to the season.
“We swam against Winona and they’re a very good team, but it was a heck of a first meet for us,” Fuller said. “We did very well especially considering the fact that we’re a small team. We only have 21 guys on our team and half of them are seventh and eighth-graders. We’re doing well but it’s hard to compete when we don’t have the numbers that other teams have, but it was still a good meet and our younger kids did well, as did our veterans. I think Winona was third at state last year and they have a bunch of their top kids back so they did very well.”
The Winhawks set two new pool records at Faribault. Fuller said it’s always exciting to see any team accomplish something of that magnitude, and he hopes it will inspire his swimmers to keep pushing themselves and to continually work towards improvement.
Fuller highlighted Will Tuma’s performance in the 100-yard freestyle. Tuma turned in a time of 53.81 against Winona, “which is really good,” Fuller said.
“That’s actually about two to three seconds faster than where he was at the beginning of last year,” he added.
Tuma, a senior, specializes in middle distance swimming and placed fifth in the 200 freestyle at last season's section meet. Fuller sees Tuma as one of the six veteran leaders of the team, along with senior Reilly Akemann (a sprinter), senior Calvin Gutzmann, senior Mitchell Hanson, junior Tanner Longshore and sophomore diver James Ohlemann.
“Reilly had a really good first meet for us and so did both Mitchell Jansen and Tanner Longshore,” Fuller said. “But our younger guys did a tremendous job as well. Basically we’re just really happy with the results that we saw in our first meet and we’re looking forward to continuing to get better.”
Fuller has coached the swimming and diving team at Faribault High School for 34 years.
The team saw five seniors graduate last year, but still has a strong core of veteran leadership. Fuller believes Gutzmann, one of the team’s captains, is poised for a breakout year. He’s also expecting more big things from Ohlemann, who received all-conference diving honors last year and placed fifth at last year’s section meet.
The Falcons are currently readying themselves for their next meet, which is set for Thursday night against Mankato East at Faribault High School.
“We’re excited to have another home meet this Thursday against Mankato East," Fuller said. "They’ll be coming over here to swim against us and we’ll see how that goes. They’re another good team but we like what we’ve been seeing so far from our own team, so all we can do is our best.”