Scott Air Force Base Sharks have talent but are short on numbers

2011-06-28T21:00:00Z Scott Air Force Base Sharks have talent but are short on numbersBy Scott Marion | STLclubsports.com stltoday.com
June 28, 2011 9:00 pm  • 

Scott Air Force Base doesn't rank as a powerhouse in the Midwest Swim Conference, but that's alright with coach Sharon Phelps.

"I'm very happy with what we did because if people reach their personal goals, that's what it's all about," said Phelps, whose Sharks placed seventh among nine teams in the Midwest Swim Conference last season. "We don't have a lot of year-round swimmers - maybe about 20 percent of the team. We also have some kids that are new and you never know what you're going to get."

Top returning swimmers for the Sharks include Tyler Thompson (15-18 boys), Daniel Shinevar (15-18 boys). Thomas Berthe (13-14 boys) and Nolan Dennes (9-10 boys). Brittany Phelps, Sharon's daughter, is another standout; she moves up to the 13-14 girls age group.

"Tyler and Daniel are both young in their age group, but I hope they finish in the top five (in the conference) if not the top three," Sharon Phelps said. "Last year Brittany was high point and I'm hoping she is again, but it all depends on who has a good day at the conference meet. There are five or six girls that are pretty even."

The team's numbers, which have fluctuated in recent years, are down this season.

"Two years ago we had over 100 swimmers, last year we had around 85 and this year we have around 60," said Phelps, in her seventh year as the Sharks' coach. "Being part of the military, most people aren't here long. They're packed up and gone in three years, maybe four if we're lucky.

"We're not really thick through any age group. We have some strong 15-18 boys, but we don't have an extensive backup. For conference, we don't have enough among the older boys and girls to fill up all of our slots.

"The question with the younger kids is experience. For 10 and under, we have a few year-round swimmers, but a lot of those kids haven't been swimming for very long."

The Sharks had their conference bye on June 16, so they were scheduled to open the season Tuesday at home against O'Fallon, but that meet was postpoined due to rain and lighting. It will be rescheduled at a date to be announced.

Scott finally did open the season last Thursday with a loss to Westhaven. The Sharks were scheduled to play host to Highland on Tuesday and will swim Thursday at Dorchester.

"I would like to think we could do as well as last year, but I'm not sure we have the numbers," Phelps said. "The experienced swimmers will do great and some of them have goals to get high point. Each swimmer fills out a goal sheet and a lot of kids want to get a certain time compared to the year-round swimmers."

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