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“Start strong, finish strong, Falcon strong” is still the mantra for the Fountain Hills High School swim team as members prepare to compete in the team’s second official season since being created last year.

The aquatic Falcons have their first swim meet of the season tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 5, against Seton starting at 4 p.m. at the Arrowhead pool.

Entering the Falcons’ second year as a team, head coach Patti Schultz said she has 26 swimmers on her roster.

“Which really is a big program for Fountain Hills,” Schultz said. “Considering that there are so many other sports pulling from the student body. I think kids are embracing the swim program.”

Schultz said she believes that the rise in swim’s popularity on campus can be attributed to how passionate the swimmers she already has are.

“The kids are very big on recruiting and getting people to come to swim,” Schultz said. “I think because it is a very inviting atmosphere. We have fun but we work hard and really focus on personal development, and I think the kids like that.”

Schultz said she is dedicated to making sure that each one of her swimmers improves and goes so far as to design multiple workouts for practice.

“We’ve done some extra stroke clinics in the afternoons for those in the program who are newcomers, so that has really helped them get up to speed,” Schultz explained. “I do vary the workouts. So we’ll have four different lanes and we vary between a faster, more intense workout to workouts more focused on skills and, right now, the team is almost getting to where they can all do the same workout.”

Schultz’s main goal for the season is to make sure that her swimmers end up loving the sport.

“Obviously we want to get at least a few swimmers to state,” Schultz said. “But right now, at this point, I just want the kids to love the sport, get super excited about it and work on their personal records. PRs are huge and will continue to improve. Finally, I just want to get them confident.”

FHHS won’t have any home meets this season but the team will travel up and down the state to compete.

“So this is really cool, we’re going up to NAU to swim,” Schultz said. “That will be really cool. We also will be swimming at ASU again, which was a favorite meet last year. Then we’re going to a small schools invitational at Phoenix Country Day School, which will be really good because there will be a lot of other Division 3 schools there and we’ll be able to see our competition.”