Panther swim boasts bigger roster and bigger hopes | Winter Sports Preview 2012

After a year with a smaller team and difficulty filling all of the lanes during meets, the Bonney Lake boys swim team is back with bigger numbers and bigger hopes for a winning season.

According to coach Jay Paulson, the team this year is young, but hopes are high.

Though he lost Nathan Scott, who set varsity records in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle, Paulsen dsaid he has several top swimmers returning, including Josh Weaver in the breaststroke and freestyle, Dominick Lieggi in sprints and the backstroke, Camerno Gehrke in the individual medly and the butterfly, distance-swimmer Tyler Tangen and sprinter Nathan Hurst.

Also returning are divers Gary Flygare and Scott Jackson.

“I have great expectations of success for the returners,” Paulsen said in an email. “Josh Weaver is looking awesome right now.”

Paulsen said he also expects “big things” from freshman Ryan Engledow, who will be swimming varsity events.

Other newcomers showing varsity potential in early practices ar Ryan McGraw, Kyle Jones, Skylar Livingston, Dawson Swanbeck, Riley Miller and a trio of new divers.

But after a 2-6 finish last year, Paulsen is keeping expectations managable and said he does not expect to make runs against the teams with big club swimmers, such as Enumclaw, Peninsula or Auburn Mountanview, but he does expect the team to improve all year and hopes to see varsity records broken in a handful of events.

The Panthers open their season Thursday at Peninsula.