Belton’s swim program hosts swim meeting this weekend
Friday, 27 January 2012 by Chuck Kelly
BHS head swim coach Mike Burt and his staff are readying the Roy and Jean Potts Belton Swim Center for the Third Annual New Year Invitational this weekend.
Competition will begin Saturday morning, Jan. 14, at 9:30am and talented swimmers from a total of nine schools will be participating --- Competitors include Cedar Park, Ellison, Harker Heights, Hutto, Leander, Round Rock, San Marcos High, San Marcos Baptist Academy and, of course, Belton.
"This is kinda like our last meet to prepare for district (Jan. 27-28 at TAMU).
We've been training since our last meet Dec. 17 and we've had some 20-odd hard practices," stated Burt, adding "So this meet will be used just as a tuneup to get back into the 'competitive' mode rather than the 'practice' mode and take the first step toward getting ourselves ready in the next couple of weeks following this event to get ready for district."
The defending district champion Tiger boys and the girls finished in second place last season to A&M Consolidated, who could be an inside favorite to repeat this time.
When asked if he was pleased or satisfied with his swimmers performances so far and their readiness, the coach answered:
"I don't know that coaches are ever totally satisfied....but we've come a long way. We've done a lot of good things in terms of coming together as a unit, understanding what is required, what kind of practice they have to do and how hard, the level of training they need to do. We are maturing across the board quite a bit as a team. That doesn't mean we're going out there and knock the socks off everyone yet but that's a good thing for 'down the road' if we continue to do this."
Burt commented that his Tigers have had some good swims, some record-setting swims, already this year so those things combined make him feel very comfortable that Belton is going to finish off the year in a very high note.
There will be some different combinations for relays this weekend that haven't been used much in a long time and, also, some that are brand new ones just to get that final look at someone and see where they best fit together.
Burt put it this way --- "It's kinda like a race car, you know...you take it out on the track and you run it...then you come back in and tweak the engine and take it out again and see what happens. That's where we are at this meet and we'll make our final decisions and go from there."
The relays have been very strong for Belton all season.
"That's one of our strengths going into this weekend and then, also, in district and for the guys' side at the regional level," said Burt, who added "But we have to prove it on the right dates that we can continue to be one of the best in this area in those events."
With the coach's record-setting champion Kyle Burt now attending the Colorado College of Mines, the question arose as to which swimmers have "stepped up" to become the big point-makers this season?
"On the ladies' side, I have two seniors and a sophomore that have really led the way....seniors Clara Pappenfort and Erika Delgado and sophomore Megan Nitcher. I think those three young ladies will be the strength and backbone of our team this year," Burt quickly answered. "Not saying that we won't have many others that score and get in at regional levels and things like that. They are the core for what we have going on."
What about the men's side?
"I'm just going to lay it all on my junior guys," he responded. "They have all come through the program. This is their third year and they're taking a leadership role and showing the younger ones what needs to be done and working pretty hard. That's Benjamin York, Mitch Anderson, Austin Couillard, Kennedy Lim, Evan Nitcher, Connor Przybylski and Anthony Velasquez....that's the core and what's exciting is for two years now, they've been part of a championship team, a second-place team and who knows what will happen this year? We still have another year with these guys and it's exciting to anticipate what we could be a year from now!"
The BHS swim team will lose two seniors to graduation this year, Pappenfort and Delgado. That means Burt will have 26-27 varsity and 4-5 sub-varsity swimmers returning next year....and, looking down the road, there are some good people coming up who are expected to be very strong freshmen.
"Things are coming together pretty good right now and we're looking okay for at least the next couple of years," Burt said with a smile. "We have about 60 kids in the seventh and eighth grades this year. Our goal with the middle schools and sub-varsity programs is to help smooth out some of the peaks and valleys that some schools have so that we can be a consistent contender/top ten team in our area every year."
Former District Coach of the Year Mike Burt has built...and is continuing to grow...a high school swimming powerhouse at Belton High School.
Judge for yourself. Take a look at the Tigers Saturday at the New Year's Invitational.