Nick Coe is preparing to begin his first season as head swim coach at Adair County High School. After several years as an assistant with the Indians, Coe is ready to hit the ground running as head coach.
However, due to COVID-19, Coe and his squad are hoping to begin preseason practice this week, some two months after the swim teams usually get their seasons underway. For sure, it has been an unusual year.
“We’ve not had a chance to practice yet, but for me I just want to make sure I make note of the changes going on. One day, there could be this rule, and then the next day it changes,” Coe said last week. “I am just making sure I am following guidelines set forth by the KHSAA (Kentucky High School Athletic Association), Lindsey Wilson College (practice facility home) and our school.
“It can be hectic at times. The kids are very eager to get started. They’re eager to get into the water. They love this sport and it is stressful for them to have the virus keep pushing the season forward.”
The Indians are heading into the year after posting a pretty successful 2019-20 campaign. Luke Rich, an eighth-grader, highlighted last year by making it to the finals of the 100 breaststroke.
“We’re going to have a very young team. I think this will be only our fourth season to even have a program,” Coe said. “The success we’ve had for being such a young team has been phenomenal. Luke reached the finals in the state last year and we did extremely well in the region, considering the number of swimmers we had in the meet.”
Coe said Adair County’s roster last year had several swimmers who had never competed in a meet, but set personal best times every outing. ACHS will have a large boys’ squad this campaign and is expected to have a full girls’ squad, too. Many seventh grade girls plan to come out for the team, Coe said.
“For us heading into this year, the key is mainly experience,” Coe said. “With so many new swimmers, we need the experience to knock off some of the nerves, and that is so important. (That is because) we will have a lot of middle school kids swimming this year.”
Coe said training this year will include helping the Indians and Lady Indians get physically stronger. He also wants to work on individual development because he hopes to spread the swimmers around to the events they like to do, while also making sure Adair County is represented in as many events as possible.
“Luke Rich will be one of the swimmers we will be expecting big things from,” Coe said. “He does the 100 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley. He is a region champion and set a personal best in the 100 breaststroke at the state. Skeet Carter should have a good year too, just missing out for last year’s region meet.
“Swimming last year, Genevieve Myles figured out the events she swam and dropped 15 seconds in time. Senior Ashley Smith should do well for us in the sprints, especially the freestyle and the backstroke.” He also mentioned Brianna Hillock and Mia Wilkerson.
Now, Coe is focused on getting his team ready for the season opener. Though he is still working on completing his schedule, he expects to have it finalized in a couple of weeks.
“We’re working on consistency with them, working on conditioning,” Coe said. “(We’re preparing for a tough schedule because) I do definitely want to swim against established, successful teams. I want our kids to have to compete because this could be our year to move up.”
By Scott Wilson