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Dickinson prepares for season opener

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson's lone senior Luke Shields practices Wednesday. The Williston and Dickinson co-op of boys swimming and diving starts its season Friday in Williston.

Dickinson first-year head coach Kristi Roller is looking for similar results with the boys swimming and diving team that she had with the girls team this fall.

Roller, who helped coach the Williston Coyotes girls swimming and diving team, hopes the girls' success will translate to the boys.

"I have a lot more confidence," Roller said. "The first couple seasons are a little nerve wracking, but if you have a good season, it gives you more confidence."

Dickinson is in a co-op with Williston to form the Coyotes. There are eight swimmers from Dickinson.

That confidence right now is being relayed in the form of excitement.

"We're pretty excited," junior Jacob Anderson said. "We've got a lot of good swimmers. It's going to be a good season all-around, I think."

The Midgets have three upperclassmen in senior Luke Shields, and juniors Anderson and Kyle Pletan.

"He's (Shields) a lot of help," Roller said. "He's really encouraging to all the guys and he keeps them going."

Roller said having five freshmen on her team is good. Ben Pitkin, Harlan Schuster, Jamie Gordon, Ryan Fahy and Cody Piehl are Dickinson's freshmen.

"It's great that we have that many freshmen," Roller said. "It gives me time to work with them for another three years, hopefully."

The hardwork of Roller hasn't gone unnoticed by the swimmers. Shields is glad to see some consistency at the head coach position.

"I like it a lot better," Shields said. "For the past three seasons, we've had a different coach each season. She just seems like she's going to be here for a while. She's pretty committed to us."

Despite this being Shields' last season, he knows being a familiar face will be a motivation for the younger kids.

"I think for the younger kids it means a lot to have a returning coach," Shields said. "They won't have to readjust all their stuff the next season."

In the first couple weeks of practice, Roller has seen a level of excitement, which she knows means the team ia ready to get the season started.

"Just the excitement level tells me that they are giving it their all," Roller said. "Practice is tough already, but they're not complaining. They're just doing it and they know what needs to be done to accomplish their goals for this season."

The Coyotes don't have to look far ahead for their first meet. It's Friday in Williston.

While the excitement level is there, nerves have also taken shape.

"Most of them are nervous about their first meet," Roller said.

For others it's a starting point, to judge where they are at in the season.

"It's basically like a benchmark meet," Shields said. "It's to see where we are at the beginning of the season and then we can compare where we are at in the end."