Swimming Mustangs Move to the Deep End: Mason Team Tries Hand at D-AA

Last year, the George Mason High School swim and dive team went undefeated, with the boys and girls squads each going 12-0, and the squad sent 14 swimmers and a diver to the Virginia AA/A state championships.

Now this season, the Mustangs are moving up a division, going from the single A Bull Run District to the double A Dulles District, where all of the full-time schools locatedĀ  in Loudoun County.

What this means is that the team will face bigger, deeper squads, pretty heavy stuff for a team that just a few years ago was at the club level.

Not that they can’t handle the challenge.

“This season is going to have some new challenges we’re looking forward to,” said Mason graduate and head coach Jon-Michael Lemon, who is entering his fifth season at the helm of the Mustangs, and has been key in growing the team from a small club squad with about 20 swimmers to a force to be reckoned with.

He added, “We were invited to join (double A). It provides a great deal more competition. We always enjoy the single A Bull Run district, but it’s a small district.”

This year’s Mustang team promises to be even more dynamic that last year’s squad, and should be able to step up to the challenge of a stronger district.

Of the 48 swimmers on last year’s team – boys and girls combined – only four graduated. Looking ahead, this year’s team of about 60 only has 10 seniors, meaning many future seasons also promise to be fruitful.

“Both the boys and the girls are in good shape for the season,” said Lemon, who is also excited about the freshmen that have joined the mix.

Lemon is looking at a handful of players to have successful individual campaigns and contribute to the team’s overall success. Specifically, the coach named senior girls Kelly Frank and Karen Hamill; and on the boys side, senior Sam Parker and juniors Sam Butler and Will Doty.

Lemon has his eyes on two big dual meets that will show what the Mustangs can handle. This Friday, Mason host Potomac Falls at the Dunn Loring YWCA; and Jan. 30 the team travels to Broad Run. Against Potomac Falls, the Mustangs will see where they’re at right out of the gate; against Broad Run, Mason will see how they’re handling stiff double A competition late in the season.

“The added competition is going to be beneficial,” said Lemon. “It provides a good challenge to us. The kids are excited to meet some new faces.”