As if his final trip to the state swimming meet weren't important enough, Dobyns-Bennett's fastest swimmer just got a little extra motivation.
A disappointing outing at last weekend's regional meet has Greg Cathers ready to hit the pool with a vengance.
"I wasn't too happy with conference," he said. "I wanted to do a little better but I'll use that frustration to keep me going for state."
Cathers narrowed his focus to the 50 and 100-yard freestyle events this year, putting the development of speed at a premium in his workouts.
All the hard work paid off as he qualified to swim both events at the upcoming state meet in Murfreesboro.
Cathers is no stranger to the state meet - he qualified for the first time as a sophomore during his first year of competitive swimming.
He returned to Murfreesboro as a junior but fell just short of making it to the finals.
Now the lanky senior is staring at his last chance to make the finals, and he's determined to go out with a bang.
"Last year I almost made the finals, but not quite," Cathers said. "This year I'd like to make the finals. We'll see what happens."
While Cathers is happy to be going to Murfreesboro, he is aware he won't have much company.
After dominating the local swimming scene for decades, D-B has fallen upon hard times in recent years.
A renovation to their pool turned the Indians into swimming nomads last year. Workouts at Sullivan North and many meets on the road thinned the herd, so to speak, leaving D-B with a small team in a sport that often turns into a numbers game.
But Cathers hopes to see that trend reversed. Although it won't happen during his time at D-B, he said the groundwork is in place for a resurgence.
"It would be good to see it grow again," he said. "It's hard to see it down like this, but I'm sure it will come back."
Cathers points to a solid core of young swimmers who are working their way up the ladder.
If they continue to progress and more follow, the future could be bright for D-B.
"We've got some good young kids," he said. "Seeing them work so hard is great."
While Cathers won't get to be a part of a swimming powerhouse at D-B, some of the future success of the program will come because of young swimmers who will follow in his wake.
Although he's used to going fast in the water, Cathers said he realizes rebuilding is a slow process.
"It's not all about winning at big meets," Cathers said. "It's about your personal times, personally getting better, because it will take some time to get better. It just takes work."
With that, Cathers perpares to hit the pool for another workout.
As he churns his way through the water, he'll be thinking about the disappointment of the regional meet and the possibility of erasing that nagging disappointment at the state meet.
More importantly, he's hoping to make the finals and earn a little bit of recognition for the up-and-coming swimmers back in Kingsport.
From there, he'll fade into the D-B's storied past, making way for what he hopes is a bright future.
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