Girls Swim Ready To Start The Season

Posted on November 11, 2017 in Girl's Swimming, Winter Sports

BY SCOTT HUNT – shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

MIER — It hasn’t been the easiest of transitions for the Oak Hill girls’ swim team. The team is under new direction with first-year coach Kendrick Vester taking over for program founder and long-time coach Mark Yordy, who retired after the 2016-17 season.
And that transition is going well.
However, the water heater in the Golden Eagles home pool went out during the first few days of practice, meaning the team had no pool time or had to use the facility at Indiana Wesleyan University.
But ready or not, the 2017-18 season is set to begin for Oak Hill’s girls at 9 a.m. today when they compete in the Norwell Invitational.
“It’s been a little difficult with the water heater going out, so it was a struggle to get started. But they’ve been working really hard,” Vester said. “When they have been in the water they’ve been working really hard.
“I get goose bumps every practice, at least once, just because they come into the wall so fast on a set,” he added. “It’s really nice.”
Vester inherits a team that suffered from some attrition after Yordy’s departure, but the Golden Eagles will start the season with a good nucleus of seniors and juniors that have a wealth of experience.
Two of the most notable returnees, junior twin sisters Kinsey and Khloe Price, were part of the the school record-setting 200 freestyle relay team that finished 15th in the state last season. Another member of that team, senior Olivia Smith opted not to swim this season, while Emma Travis is now part of IWU’s new women’s swimming program.
The Golden Eagles also return senior swimmers Maggi Austin, Tori Templin and Morgan Wallace, along with divers Savannah Hart and Alayna Wagner. Lizzie Wood, Laci Bullick, Lily Miller, Bayli Toy, Aynsley Vermilya and Sarah Wing comprise the returning junior class for Vester.
Overall, Oak Hill is down a bit in numbers from past teams, but Vester is excited about the prospects of the girls that will hit the water today. He also sees some carry over from Yordy’s influence on his team.
“They get along with each other so well and they push each other so well,” Vester said. “I’ll sometimes compromise and they’re like you need to be doing this and we need to be doing that. They push each other hard, too.
“I can see coach Yordy in all of them. I don’t know him that well but from what I have seen and what I have heard, I can see him in all of them,” he continued. “They push each other so hard so I think that’s probably the strongest thing that’s going to help us this year. We are low on depth, numbers-wise. but with them pushing each other so hard, that’s the best strength that we have right now.”
Vester is a 2012 graduate of Clinton Central High School and ended his high school swim career with an eighth place finish in the 100 breaststroke and an 11th place in the 50 freestyle in the 2012 Indiana boys state championship meet. He began swimming at IUPUI before finishing up his college degree at Indiana State in the spring of 2017.
Last season Vester was the girls’ swim coach at West Vigo High School, Terre Haute, and had previous coaching experience for club teams in Crawfordsville and Terre Haute.
During the practice sessions the Golden Eagles couldn’t use the pool, Vester and his girls spent time getting to know one another by sharing life experiences and stories to ease the shared frustration of not being able to swim.
Vester has some straightforward goals for Oak Hill this season.
“I want them to have fun,” he said. “As far as goals, the record board is my main goal. We’re with Fishers and Hamilton Southeastern so that’s just a hard sectional to be in. Our main goal is the record board my first year here. We have several athletes that can be on that board this year.”

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