LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It may have been below freezing on Thursday morning in Lufkin but it was warm enough indoors to enjoy a day of practice inside the swim center of the Lufkin Boys and Girls Club for the 11 members of the Pineywoods Academy Swim team.
The team is preparing for the District 17-5A meet this coming Saturday at the Boys and Girls Club.
Before this year, only two students from PCA were able to compete for a spot in the regional meet. Now it is almost to a dozen students that can thanks to the quick rise of the team coached by former Lufkin Panther swim member Marissa Nash.
"I had been coaching here at the Boys and Girls Club for several years," Nash said. "I came mainly to PCA for special education so I could be a teacher in their program but when they found out I was a swim coach, they snatched me up and thought I should help them get the program running."
When Nash first walked into the halls of PCA only one student was representing the school in swimming competition. His name was Seth Kreid.
"It felt kind of lonely," Kreid said. "It felt like their was no schedule and nobody knew about it. I would go to meets alone and their was no one there to root for me or the school."
Nash quickly got Diana Kolb to join Kreid. Kolb and Kreid participated already in the after school swim teams at the Club.
"It was very hard because most people didn't know we had a swim team," Kolb said. "We had to introduce it ourselves and make it a big thing."
Now this year, the Timberwolves have 11 members.
"I do many other sports like cross country and track," 10th grader Harrison Lucas said. "Some of my other friends told me it is more of a challenging sports so I wanted more of a challenge."
Lucas has fit into the team and Nash believes that many of them could have a good chance at qualifying for districts in multiple races. Lucas knows the district meet will be the biggest of his short swimming life.
"It is going to be a little bit challenging," Lucas said. "I'm kind of excited and a little nervous. Hopefully we can do good enough to go to regionals."
There is not a sense of hierarchy on the team. Kreid and Kolb see everyone as equal and just another person to gain energy from.
"This year people actually care and come to swim meets and watch," Kreid said.
"It is really cool having a team and having someone there to support you and not having to be by yourself and push yourself," Kolb said. "It is a lot easier to have other people be there and push you."
After this year, Kreid will be leaving the team due to graduation. Nash will need to replace him and hopes to get a few new faces that would give her the capability of having four relay teams.
"Our athletic program is booming right now," Nash said. "It is neat to be part of that excitement and see all the talent and skills if we can find them and use them the right ways."
The district meet starts at 10 am this coming Saturday from the Lufkin Boys and Girls Club. The district includes, PCA, Nacogdoches, Whitehouse, Athens, Hudson, Huntington, Central and Central Heights.