DANVILLE — Winning is always better than losing, but when its your first meet of the season there are other goals that a team wants to achieve.
For the Danville girls swim team, their goal in Tuesday’s meet with Champaign Central was to establish a starting point.
“I think everyone felt good with what they did today,’’ said Danville first-year coach Tristan Wolfe. “We talked about using this meet as a base and building on top of that.
“I want to be able to look back when we get sectionals and be able to show the girls the progress that we have made in the season.’’
Unfortunately for Wolfe and the Vikings, the shear numbers advantage for the Maroons was the difference in the meet.
Danville won seven of the 12 events but Central’s depth allowed it to claim a 100-76 triumph in the dual meet.
“I couldn’t have been prouder of their efforts,’’ Wolfe said. “I knew we didn’t have the numbers, but I wanted them to go out and give it all they’ve got.
“We have trained hard and we were ready for this first meet. These girls exceeded my expectations. We can definitely compete, but the numbers are just not on our side.’’
Senior Lela Wagner had a very good start to the 2019 season, as she won a pair of individual events (200-yard individual medley and the 100 butterfly), while she was also a part of Danville’s winning 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams.
“I’m happy with it. It went better than I thought, especially for me not feeling too hot today,’’ she said. “I’m super proud of my teammates. They did awesome, especially our new girls.
“I’m really excited to see where this season goes.’’
But was their one event that stood out?
“My butterfly,’’ said Wagner, whose winning time was 1 minute, 7.74 seconds. “I didn’t expect i to be good as it was. I ate before I swan and I was like, ‘oh. no.’ I shouldn’t have done that.
“But I saw it and it was like five seconds off of my best time ever.’’
Wagner acknowledged that actually times were not a big deal on Tuesday.
“I just wanted to feel fast and feel the burn of competition,’’ she said. “Today is the starting point for the rest of the season.’’
Having a new coach is nothing new for Wagner, as Wolfe is her third coach in four years.
“We have worked a lot on stroke technique,’’ said Wagner, noting the team still gets in a lot of yards during practice. “I know that my strokes need help and it’s good to have coaches that really emphasize that part.’’
After Tuesday’s opening meet, Wagner believes the Vikings could get a top-five finish in some of the bigger meets later in the season.
“We don’t have a lot of number, but all of our girls are fast,’’ she said.
Her coach agrees.
“I was never on a big swim team, but we had some success with small numbers,’’ said Wolfe, who swam for the Vikings, graduating in 2015. “Our team is very specific. We have great swimmers in each event.
“In bigger meets, those first and second-place finishes will add up quickly.’’