SHERIDAN — Christmas break serves as an enjoyable and earned respite for student-athletes and coaches. But that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of challenges.
Sheridan High School swimming and diving head coach Brent Moore has had his swimmers and divers back at practice for the last few days. In Moore’s experience he said it takes his swimmers a couple practices to find their legs again, meaning fans attending the Sheridan Pre-Invite and Sheridan Invite Friday and Saturday will see a fully-ready Broncs’ squad.
The small slice of time away from the competitive arena fosters an environment to recharge for the bulk of the winter season, however, even the slightest bit of time away can lend itself to some sluggishness upon return. That holds true for Sheridan, which is rounding back into form after its break. The Broncs took six days off — from Dec. 22-27 — traveling to see family and friends, spending time with loved ones that they don’t often see during the rigorous winter sports schedule.
“I want them to have time with family and take some time off,” Moore said. “We might lose a little bit of training, but we have plenty of season left to get back at it.”
Sheridan has competed in a few meets this season. The young roster — more than half of which are freshman — have seen meteoric improvement.
“Individually, they’ve all improved,” Moore said. “A lot of the upperclassmen have posted some lifetime best times, which is great, and our freshman keep getting better.”
The final scoreboard hasn’t always shown Sheridan near the top. Thus lies the challenge this season.
With 14 swimmers and divers at Moore’s disposal, the Broncs have to find merit with time rather than place. 4A clubs such as Gillette, Laramie and the Cheyenne schools have double and triple the amount of the student-athletes, which allows them to better contend at the top.
“We’ve got to look at individual improvements,” Moore said. “Team-standing wise, we aren’t big enough yet to compete. But if we keep building the freshman class like we have, I think we’ll get there.”
“We still have to be competitive even though we can’t compete. We still have to show up every day and race the clock. Sometimes it’d be easy for them to say, ‘Oh, we are not up with the big schools, so let’s just take it easy.’ We can’t let that happen.”
Sheridan will aim for more individual improvements with a couple home meets this week. The Broncs already have two qualified for the state meet — Emmett Potter and Thomas Yates — and will look to add a few more at the Pre-Invite Friday at 4 p.m. and the Invite Saturday at 9 a.m.