DOVER — Former Western Boone swimmer, Natalie (Jarrett) Galvan loved her time as a Star.
When they opportunity arose for her to take the swimming and diving job at her alma mater earlier this year, she didn’t hesitate in coming back to her old stomping grounds. Galvan said she is excited to get the season underway.
“This program means a lot to me,” Galvan said. “I swam for coach (Duane) Swisher and coach (Larry) Parker and Mr. Swisher was a tremendous mentor of mine. To be able to come back, and to influence these kids in the way I was influenced by him, that means a lot to me.”
Galvan takes over for Bob Stumph, who resigned at the end of last season.
She said there was a little adjustment period for the team as they got ready for the upcoming season with a different coach.
“It was a big adjustment for them,” Galvan said. “There weren’t as many rules so to speak, so that has been an adjustment. But they have all taken it in stride and have gone with it. They understand what our main goal is at the end of the year.”
The girls team has been practicing officially since Oct. 23, with the boys starting on Nov. 6.
The girls will start their season with a girl-only meet on Nov. 16 at Fountain Central, with the boys joining them for their first meet on Nov. 21.
“I have been pleasantly surprised, especially with the numbers on our girls team,” Galvan said of the first weeks of practice. “Our boys team is a little more green, they only have about nine boys, and most of them are freshmen, whereas the girls team has some more experience. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, coming into my first year of coaching, but I love this group. They are a great group of kids, they work hard and I have already seen significant improvements.”
After what she has seen in the first couple of weeks, Galvan said she has some big goals for what the teams can do this winter.
On the girls side especially, where they have more numbers, she believes the team can contend as a team in some of their big meets late in the year.
“For the girls team, I see quite a few of our school records falling and I think we could be toward the front of the pack in the conference,” Galvan said. “I really believe they can do it. We have the numbers to put girls in the top-8, top-16 and get plenty of points. For the boys, it is more personal goals. We don’t have the numbers to compete with the other schools, but the main thing is them going out there and getting their best times.”
The girls team returns some of their key pieces from a season ago.
Galvan said several girls have stepped up in the first two weeks of practice and are poised for good seasons.
“Lauren Jones is a sophomore, and she comes in every year dedicated and ready to work really hard,” Galvan said. “She has the 100-yard butterfly record already, and I think she is going to have a big year. MaKenna Steimel is always one of our first people on deck and in the water first. Olivia Richardson is our vocal leader as a senior and Shelby Dorwart is another senior that is vocal and keeps the team motivated in hard sets. We also have diver Regan Gubera back after she made the regional as a freshman, so she is going to help us a lot too.”
On the boys side, the Stars bring back Josh Wright and Deetz Holdorf from last year’s team.
Another swimmer that returns has also impressed Galvan in the early going.
“I have really been impressed with Keagan Wilhite,” Galvan said. “He is a sophomore and he is going to be our leader this year on the boys side.”
With just about a week before the season gets underway, the Stars are focused on some of the basics as they get ready for the season so that their foundation is strong for the end of the year.
“In the first could of weeks, we just try to hit the ground running,” Galvan said. “We are ramping up the yards right away. We have been slowly building each day, and then we are doing a lot of technique work on Saturdays. I told the kids I would rather them have the correct technique, than winning a meet. If we do it correctly, we will go far.”