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Tiger swimmers, divers look to improve

ADAM BOFFEY
summit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk
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FARMER’S KORNER ” When a strong senior captain graduates from a high school sports program, he inevitably leaves a leadership void in his wake. Almost always, the question surrounding the next year’s team is: Who will step up and take the reins?

Swimming standout Marc Miller may be gone from the Summit High School boys swimming and diving team, but this year’s senior captain, Josh Gammel, seems to be his heir apparent to lead the Tigers.

“Josh is our leader,” Summit coach Mike Rathgeber said. “He’s a four-year swimmer … This is his team now.”

“It’s nice,” Gammel said of his captainship. “It’s been a goal of mine since freshman year; wanting to lead the team and have some fun doing it.”

Gammel and his junior co-captain, Marshall Snead, are Summit’s only returning swimmers who qualified for last year’s state meet. Along with Miller and departed senior David Shaffer, Gammel and Snead made up the Tigers’ state-qualifying 400-yard freestyle relay team. Gammel and company took 17th place in a preliminary round, falling just one position short of a trip to the state finals.

Gammel’s early season success will depend largely on how soon he recovers from a preseason sternum injury he sustained several weeks ago while snowboarding.

“I’m at about 65 or 70 percent right now,” the butterfly and freestyle specialist said. “I’m going to try to swim in our first meet on Friday.”

In addition to the promise of his freestyle relay team, Rathgeber said his top three swimmers (Gammel, Snead and Andrew Marshall) are also looking strong as individuals.

“Last year we never had an individual come close to qualifying (for state) and this year we have three individuals that are close to qualifying,” Rathgeber said. “In that aspect, I think we’ll be better.”

Rathgeber said that like last season, he’s concerned about his team’s small numbers. With only 10 athletes on their current roster, the Tigers will lose a handful of this season’s duals by default.

“Wins and losses are not a really big focus for us,” Rathgeber said. “They can’t be when we get mathematically eliminated so often. Our focus remains on state qualification and the kids are fine with that.”

Diving

Junior Lindsay Emore is Summit’s lone returning diver. Although the beginning of this season didn’t go according to his plan, Emore is now poised to lead the Tigers on the diving boards.

As a sophomore, Emore dove second behind Tim Gurule; a senior who has decided to forgo his final season of diving. Emore was hoping to switch over to the swimming ranks this season but when he learned that Gurule was not returning, the role of top diver became his by default.

Despite his initial desire to join their ranks (citing the desire to gain more physical conditioning), Emore has decided to “leave the swimming to the swimmers,” he said.

“He’s a team player,” Rathgeber said of Emore. “It wasn’t his first choice but he knows that we need someone on the board and he’s doing it.”

Emore’s best score as rookie diver last season was 116 points. Diving coach Shannon Hoffmann said he will likely improve significantly, but not right away.

“Lindsay spent the first week getting his jitters out and getting used to being on the board again,” Hoffmann said. “I don’t expect too much at the first meet; it will be more of a warmup. After that, he will start learning new dives that can help him improve his difficulty scores.”

The Tigers open their season Friday with a double dual versus Golden at The Ridge.

Four to Watch

” Josh Gammel, Sr., butterfly, freestyle

” Marshall Snead, Jr., distance freestyle,

” Andrew Marshall, Jr., individual medley

” Lindsay Emore, Jr. diver

Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13631, or at aboffey@summitdaily.com.


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