LB, JR swimmers take to the water in season openers tonight, both are filling spots; River has new coach

The high school swim season takes the gun tonight as the James River team has a home meet at Hollins University. Lord Botetourt will take the water in competition Thursday night at Hollins.

“Though we lost 10 seniors last year, we have had quite a few new athletes come out to give swimming a try,” said LB coach Ashley Safrit. “Almost all of our swimmers in the lower grades are returning from last year, plus a few new freshmen, which give us a large, strong team. We are looking forward to another fantastic season.”

River has a new coach in Kevin Franceschini, who coached 12 years in New Jersey. He’ll be assisted by Diane Nguyen.

The River boys team has three returning state swimmers, Caleb Meador, Dillion Minnix and Landyn White. Meador and White are captains along with Kaitlyn Keith from the girls team. The boys team has a total of four swimmers.

“We graduated two state swimmers from last years team,” said Franceschini. “The goal for this year is to qualify as many male swimmers as possible to the state meet, and future goals will be to build the number of swimmers on the boys team.”

The girls team has many returning state swimmers from last year, including Sydney Wilson, Megan Cox, Ellie Holter, Vanessa Lima, Kelsi Hammons and Kayla Alford. The girls team as 13 swimmers.

“Current goals for the girls team will be to return state swimmers and develop new talent for this year,” said Franceschini. “Looking at both teams, we have a small but dedicated group of swimmers.”

River will swim in a meet in Christiansburg this Saturday