Oak Ridge High School Swim Coach Chad Hodge wears many hats: ORHS Football Team Offensive Coordinator, Advanced Chemistry (AP) and Passionate Teacher, Coaching King and Coach second year ORHS swimming course.
As he relaunched a swim program that had only 13 swimmers three years ago, Hodge set ambitious goals for the team and individuals and put in place a training and fitness program. training to reach them.
Not content with the team’s third place finish at the KISL Championships last year, Hodge added male swimmers to the roster with the goal of having a balanced squad in terms of numbers and experience, as the female teams and male score together.
This year’s team, which started training together in early September, have both the numbers and the experience. Additionally, the Wildcats have added a college program this year consisting of 20 swimmers from Robertsville and Jefferson Colleges.
These college kids race in non-scoring heats, with the exception of a few games where they will have their own heats and score for the team. The addition of the college program allows Coach Hodge to develop both numbers and talent over the long term.
For Hodge, the leadership factor is huge. This year’s captains, setting the tone for practice and competition, include seniors Mason Fischer, Tais Brown, Sidney Ozcan and Finn Thornton, as well as juniors Ella Kendall and Quentin Vanatta, and sophomore Amelia Hodge. With a long-term goal of increasing the number of programs, Hodge’s leadership team is responsible for creating a supportive atmosphere, where every team member has a role in the team and has an opportunity for growth. , whatever his swimming prowess.
Individually, the team is made up of several elite swimmers. Hodge mentions Tais Brown, the school record holder in the 100 butterfly (51.01), who has previously swam 53.71 in the 100 butterfly and 1: 53.19 in the 200 freestyle. Second-year sprinter Stephen Zhukov swam 23.07 in the 50 freestyle and 52.77 in the 100 freestyle. Multifaceted rookie Andrew Chou has a time of 2: 01.59 in the 200 IM, as well as 57.27 in the 100 under his belt already. On the girls’ side, senior Mason Fischer clocked 1: 13.52 in the 100 breaststroke and 2: 21.29 in the 200 IM. Junior Ella Kendall swam 2: 07.72 in the 200 freestyle and 1: 02.26 in the 100 butterfly. Sophomore Rosalee Wenhame, who swims both sprint and distance, swam 27.35 in the 50 freestyle, 1: 00.63 in the 100 freestyle and 5: 41.62 in the 500 freestyle, making it a point machine. Sophomore Amelia Hodge, who swims primarily relays, is in the 200 IM, 200 free and 400 free relay.
“Every time these swimmers step into the pool for their individual races he expects a win,” Hodge said. He has similar expectations for his daughters in the Wenhame 200 IM relay, Fischer, Kendall and Hodge, who Hodge said will be “hard to beat.” They have already swam 1: 59.55 in a win over Catholic. Cho, Suddeth, Brown and Zhukov’s men’s 200 IM relay is equally strong with a 1: 45.12 victory over Catholic. Hodge also sees high-end potential in the free 200 and 400 relays.
With a schedule focused on high performance teams, Wildcat swimmers will see their competition for the top spots at KISL during the season, swimming against contenders at KISL Maryville, Catholic and Hardin Valley Academy. They will also have to watch out for eternal competitor Farragut, whom they won’t meet until KISL. The team have already swam in three games as the season has started – a small game at the University of Tennessee, a home win over Catholic and another win over Berean Christian School and STEM Academy at UT. The Wildcat Swim Team competed again on Tuesday, Dec. 7 against Maryville at the Oak Ridge Civic Center Pool. Due to the city’s COVID-19 restrictions, no one was allowed to watch on the pool deck.