Also entrenched in spots are senior IM and distance swimmer Hannah Perryman, senior butterflier Mattison Buckley, sophomore distance specialist Addy Davis, and freshman backstroker Callie Burnett.
With a seven-member freshman class learning on the job, Culp said the team is building, but not rebuilding as this season’s squad isn’t expected to take a backwards step.
“We should win more meets than we did last season and hopefully do well in MIC,” Culp said. “I’m not real sure what’s out there [in the conference] but do the best that we can and see where we’re at and kind of get us in position for next year.”
Eastern opens Thursday at Pioneer.
The Katfish have just 10 returners on a squad of 21 as a young group tries to learn its way.
“Does that tell you we are a very green, young squad?” Kokomo coach Donita Walters asked. “I’ve even resorted to getting in the water for teaching this year, for helping with mechanics.
“These are the kindest, most compassionate young ladies I’ve ever worked with. I’ve never had young ladies say, ‘Thank you for helping me with that stroke.’ That motivates me. Because of their positive attitude, I feel we’re going to be able to do a lot more this season.”
Kokomo has a few experienced swimmers it will bank on to lead the squad and generate points as the team moves toward being competitive as the season goes on.
Hannah Reecer is a senior diving specialist whose versatility will help. “She’s a very strong swimmer and that’s something most people don’t know about Hannah. So she’s also going to be swimming some events to help with our lineup,” Walters said.
Senior Jessica Gates is the go-to swimmer for distance events. Junior Autumn Carroll is strong in the breast stroke and has the versatility to swim in the IM. Sophomore Sara White is expected to make big strides in her first season of varsity swimming after a club background. And freshmen Brooke Dill and Jessica Estep are solid in all events and will have more responsibility than most rookie Kats.