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Coach 'proud' of team's progress

The inaugural season of the Unicoi County High School swim team could have a swimmer qualify for the state meet.
After coming off the first meet of the year in early November, the team has been hard at work and the potential is there, according to head coach Jonathan Kenney.
“It has been great,” he said. “We’re ahead of where I thought we would be at this point. In our meet against Elizabethton, we had a ton of kids place in the top three, which is great for a team that is a few months old.”
Blue Devil Kaleb Clawson is leading the way, Kenney said. In addition to emerging as a leader on the team, Clawson is nearing state qualification time.
“He’s been a big boost for us,” Kenney added. “He performed well for us against Elizabethton and continues to work hard and push our other swimmers. Our whole team has done a great job of really supporting each other and putting the work in to better themselves.”
Discussing a state berth may be premature with one meet under their belts, Kenney said, but the team will soon get a better idea of where they stand when they travel to Carson-Newman to face Morristown East, Morristown West and Elizabethton on Dec. 11.
The team will then travel to Dobyns-Bennett on Dec. 18 to swim against the Indians and Sullivan County schools.
“It will be important for us,” Kenney said of the upcoming meets. “We will get a chance to see more competition.”
For the Lady Devils, Kenney mentioned Hannah Fender, Teah Sifferd and Olivia Brackins, each of whom recorded top-three finishes in their first meet.
“They’ve really stepped up and performed well at Elizabethton,” he added.
The team has had their chance to practice and prepare with a break from meets.
“They’ve taken a huge step from mid-September to now,” Kenney said. “I can’t say enough about how proud I am of the progress of the team.”