By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain’s men’s and women’s swim teams will open their seasons at 5 p.m. Tuesday in a meet hosted by Roberson at the Buncombe County Aquatic Center.
When they do, they will be under the direction of a new coach. Logan Gentry, who had been serving as assistant coach, is now in charge of the program. Dean Haney, the previous head coach, is serving as an assistant.
Athletic Director Adam Phillips said the switch was made due to time constraints with Haney’s job at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.
Gentry joined the program as an assistant last season.
“I’m really excited about doing this, and I think the kids are excited as well,” he said. “I’m glad I have an experienced assistant coach.”
Gentry graduated from Smoky Mountain in 2014 and was a three-year member of the swim team. He graduated from Western Carolina in 2018 with a degree in communications and is a graduate student taking online classes through UNC-Charlotte.
“He will do a great job,” Phillips said of Gentry. “I taught him as a student when he was here. We’re very excited to have him as our coach.”
“Practice has been going well,” Gentry said. “We’ve got a lot of kids who are very experienced. About half have experience, and about half are freshmen.”
Just as last year, there are more members on the women’s team than on the men’s.
Gentry is excited among the potential of the women’s medley relay team, which is comprised of four returnees. They are senior Becky Pechmann, junior Charlee Haney and sophomores Emilia Haney and Georgie Schweinler.
“We’re hoping they can go to state this year,” Gentry said.
“Last year we had 10 of our 12 swimmers go to regionals,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a similar ratio this year.”
Returning for the men is sophomore Parker Smith.
Joining the women’s team are sophomore Emma Jutte and freshmen Clara-Ann Boughman, Brianna Bryson, Mags Colvin and Chandler Jerome.
Newcomers for the men include junior Chandler Hall, sophomores Kenneth Pate, Josh Stack and Tucker Watterson, and freshmen Layne Hart and Triston Welch.
Gentry said more swimmers may come out now that cross country and soccer seasons are over.
The schedule is as follows:
Nov. 19 – at Buncombe County Aquatic Center (Roberson); 23 – at Franklin; 26 – at Waynesville Recreation Center (Tuscola).
Dec. 7 – at Murphy; 14 – at Tuscola; 20 – at Buncombe County Aquatic Center (Reynolds).
Jan. 7 – at Haywood Regional Health and Fitness Center (Smoky Mountain); 11 – at Franklin; 17 – Mountain Six Conference Meet at Waynesville Recreation Center.