FAIRMONT, W.Va – We are now just 12 days away from the start of this year’s high school swim season.
We also now continue our winter sports team previews with a look at the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears swim team.
This will be year No. 2 of Rob Clevenger’s tenure as head coach of the Fairmont Senior swim team. Last season, the Polar Bears girls finished in the Top 10 as a unit at the state meet.
Clevenger feels he has a little more depth on both of his squads this year, compared to last.
“We are deeper. We do have a lot of second-year swimmers that have come through,” said Clevenger. “So, there are a lot of second-year swimmers coming through. And the swimmers that are coming in as freshmen have swimming experience, so I really thing we’re set up to have some competitive meets because we have swimmers that can place in all levels.”
Leading the way for the Polar Bears will once again be junior, Mia Abruzzino, who as a sophomore finished third in the state in the 200 and 500 yard freestyle events.
“(Mia) comes from a swimming family. Her sister swam earlier – swims at the collegiate level now,” said Clevenger. “She’s really pushing to achieve what her sister achieved, and go further. She also mentors the other swimmers and helps them along, and really cheers them on, and is like a coach in the water.”
Kirt Drennen is expected to lead the way on the boys’ side for the Polar Bears.
Due to the pandemic, and its affects on this season, the Polar Bears only have two meets scheduled for this regular season, as of the time we interviewed Clevenger earlier this week.
The pandemic, along with the weather, has also shortened the amount of time he and his team have been around one another, and swimming competitively, since the end of last season.
As we reported Tuesday, the Polar Bears missed the first day of practice this week due to snow.
When we asked Clevenger what could be the biggest factor in his team having success this year, he said it comes down to health.
“Protect themselves when they’re not in the pool. In the pool it’s easy, we have the guidelines and everything set out,” Clevenger on Tuesday. “Just be safe, so they can stay healthy, and get in the pool as much as possible. Because we are in a shortened season it’s going to be important to hit all the practices and come ready to work every day.”
Fairmont Senior’s swim season is scheduled to begin on March 10.