Working with a small roster and without a home facility puts the Lake-Lehman swimming program at a competitive disadvantage, particularly in dual meets.
The Black Knights, who are able to use facilities at Misericordia University and the Dallas School District, will find ways to assess their program beyond just wins and losses in Nancy Edkins' second season as head coach.
I think probably what has been a big part of the goal for the program is for kids to get better, Edkins said. We're making the best swimmers that we can.
Lake-Lehman has just 12 girls and seven boys in its program.
Swimming scoring makes it a near statistical impossibility for even the girls team to win a dual meet - even it sweeps first-place finishes - against teams that have a large enough roster to enter three competitors in every race.
We just try to get as many first places and second places as we can and go from there, Edkins said. The kids improved all the way through last season and we're starting out this season where we ended last season, so that's exciting from a coaching perspective.
While concentrating on getting improvement throughout the entire roster, the Black Knights have some individuals who can expect to find success in the pool.
The strength of the program should be in the divers, including Matt Edkins, the coach's son, who won the district championship last season as a freshman, and, as Lake-Lehman's only qualifier, went on to finish sixth in the state.
Kieran Sutton has joined the boys team and brings the same endurance that helped make him a District 2 cross country champion.
Senior Samantha Sabol is the top returnee on the girls team, which adds a promising freshman in Julia Baur.
While the swimmers practice at Misericordia many nights, assistant coach Erin Yurko works with the divers at Dallas where the team also holds home meets.
Matt Edkins and Dustin Zeiler, who was fifth in the district meet, also try to help by swimming in some events.
They don't get to train for swimming very often, coach Edkins said, but they're able to do the 50 freestyle or help us round out relay teams.
Matt and Chris Edkins, another son of Coach Edkins, were part of a 200 freestyle relay team that finished sixth in District 2 last season.
Chris Edkins and Jon Ellenberger, both seniors, joined the program last season.
Zeiler and Sutton are the other seniors.
When the team opened its season Dec. 7 against Valley View, Sutton and Matt Edkins provided the only event wins during a 128-45 loss. Sutton won the 200 freestyle and was second in the 500 freestyle. Matt Edkins and Zeiler finished 1-2 in diving.
Junior Chris Herrick and freshman Chris Sabol are new to competitive swimming.
Samantha Sabol, senior captain of the girls team, set five school records last season before finishing third in the district in her best event, the 100 backstroke, and seventh in the 200 IM.
She also does well in the 200 freestyle and 200 IM, coach Edkins said. She's one of those people I can use anywhere.
Edkins said Baur fits the same description, although the butterfly and IM may be her best events.
Sabol won the 200 free and 100 backstroke, Baur won the 100 butterfly and Brinley Williams and Amanda Mathers went 1-2 in diving during a 122-56 opening loss to Valley View.
Sabol is one of five experienced seniors on the team. Amelia Jenkins, Cassie Stevens, Jolisa Copeman and Mathers are the others. Mathers was ninth in the district diving meet. Senior Carly Gromel is new to the team.
Brinley Williams had to miss the district diving competition last season because of an injury. She joins fellow juniors Symantha Sharon and Lindsay Williams on the team. Sophomore Kirsten Cope and freshman Karissa Monico are also new to the squad.
Lake-Lehman was 1-6 in the Wyoming Valley Conference Southern Division in girls action and 0-7 in boys last season. The teams also picked up one win each in crossover meets that do not count in the standings.
The boys followed Matt Edkins' efforts to a seventh-place finish out of 15 in the District 2 Class AA championships, one year after placing last. The girls were 12th out of 17 teams.
Lake-Lehman repeated the crossover sweep of West Scranton that it produced last season when it won on the road, 80-35, in boys and, 95-71, in girls on Tuesday.
Chris Edkins, who won the 50 and 100 free, and Sutton, who won the 200 and 500 free, also won relay events each.
Matt Edkins added wins in diving, the 100 backstroke and a relay. Ellenberger was on two winning relays while Chris Sabol won the 100 breaststroke and Herrick was on one winning relay.
Jenkins, who won the 100 breaststroke and 50 free, and Samantha Sabol, who won the 200 IM and 500 freestyle, each added two relay wins while leading the girls.
Brinley Williams won the diving.
The girls swept all three relays with Copeman swimming on three of the teams, Sharon two and Baur, Mathers and Cope one each.