It’s looking like another rebuilding year for the Antioch Panthers, which has only 12 swimmers, and as a result can’t field enough competitors in enough races to gain the points needed to win a meet. Antioch is 0-2 after losing the Deer Valley meet and after swimming uphill against Heritage two weeks earlier, both of which are able to provide a plethora of water racers and divers.
Getting the Panthers up to speed has been an ongoing project for Coach Keri Miles, who took over three years ago when, she said, “the program was almost non-existent. We are trying to get it rebuilt – it takes a while. We have more swimmers than we did last year. It’s a slow process, but we are working on it.” Last year the Panthers fielded only nine swimmers.
Adding to the challenge of being competitive this year is that Antioch is young, consisting mostly of freshmen and sophomores. On the plus side, many of them have previous experience, having swum for the Antioch Delta Skimmers and the East County Stingrays. “We have a lot of really good swimmers,” said Miles. “They have a lot of potential – it’s just a matter of trying to get our numbers (of swimmers) back up.”
Despite competing with just four varsity swimmers, the Lady Panthers managed to come in third last year in league competition, “which was really good,” said the coach.
One of the better swimmers this year is senior Chris Tennow, who, Miles said, “is an incredible breast stroke swimmer and is working really hard to qualify for NCS (the North Coast Section championships). He may be two seconds away (from the qualifying time). We are working really hard to get him qualified.”
As for many of the other swimmers, “They have a lot of potential,” said the coach. “I will give them another year, and I think they will surprise a lot of people. I think they will do really well in the coming years. I am really excited to have the kids that I do. I have an amazing assistant, Cali Robinson – she has coached with Antioch Delta Skimmers and has a lot of good ideas and is a good asset to the team.”