CADILLAC — For some, it's a chance to compete for their school.

For others, it's a chance to extend their seasons.

Either way, there's a number of happy swimmers in Cadillac.

Girls swim got its official start as a high school sport on Wednesday at the Cadillac Area YMCA.

There have been around 12 girls at the first couple of practices with all ranges of experience in the pool.

Count sophomore Karis Bachman as one of those who's excited swim is finally a high school sport in Cadillac.

Bachman swam competitively with the Cadillac YMCA for four years through its winter co-ed Currents team but gave that up in junior high.

"I was super excited that it's going to be a part of the school," she said. "When I used to do it, I quit because it wasn't a school sport.

"Now that it is, I am really excited."

Swim has been talked about off and on in recent years with a number of older kids wanting to compete for the high school.

The Cadillac Currents includes a larger age range of both boys and girls.

"I think a number of high school swimmers had been interested in having more opportunities," YMCA Director of Aquatics Mary Crisenberry said. "There was a need for more female sports, too. Different families and people were interested in the community that were able to drive swim as another sport."

Crisenberry is one of three co-coaches for the Viking girls teams this fall. Also included will be Currents coach Scott Leesch and Currents volunteer coach Mitch May.

The experience range mirrors that of golf, Cadillac's other new sport in the fall. Some girls come with quite a bit of competitive swim experience and others are on the learning end of the spectrum.

"It sounds like a number of them had done swim in the past and now they're excited for the opportunity to do it as a high school sport," Crisenberry said. "For the swimmers that are involved with the Currents, it extends that season.

"High school and the Y have their differences but it allows for extended experience in swim."

The YMCA season is organized by age brackets whereas the high school season is broken into swimmers accumulating points for their team by their specific events — freestyle, backstroke, Individual Medley, breaststroke, etc.

Being able to compete as an individual on a team is what Bachman enjoys about swim.

"It's an individual sport but you're also with a team and get to practice with all the girls but you compete by yourself.

"I'm excited to just figure it out and see where it goes."

For Crisenberry, it's another thing on her plate but she's excited to be able to help out the school and the community.

"We saw there was a lot of energy behind it from the community and as a Y, we recognized it as a need for one of our local schools," she said. "The main thing is meeting that need and interest in the community.

"Giving that age group more opportunities for competitive swimming is a good thing. It's nice, too, for our high school swimmers on our swim team because they're really great leaders for the younger swimmers."

Cadillac's first competition is Sept. 10 at Fremont. The Coastal Conference — of which Cadillac will be a member — championship meet is Nov. 8-9 in Manistee while its MHSAA Division 3 regional will be Nov. 14 in Grand Rapids.

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