The season starts today for Janesville Craig’s boys swim team.

Craig travels to Madison La Follette to open up the Big Eight dual-meet season.

First-year coach Jonathan Hopkins is pleased with how the Cougars have looked the first two weeks of practice.

“I see a lot of enthusiasm, and our numbers are up from last year,” Hopkins said. That’s a great way to start off.

“And already, we’ve got some guys that are much lower time-wise than they were a year ago when the season ended.”

Hopkins said the team will look to four swimmers to carry the load early on.

Heading that list is Gavin Ziebell. The junior will likely swim the 200 and 500 freestyle events, as well as compete in the 200 medley relay.

Sophomore Sam Sarauer also provides depth in the 200 and 500 free, and will also be used in the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly.

Callaghan Bradley, a junior, is the team’s top breaststroker and will also swim the 200 individual medley. Hopkins said Bradley is already two seconds faster in his times than he was a year ago.

Rounding out the group is freshman Kiel Wolff, who is scheduled to compete in the 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle.

Hopkins knows the Cougars face an uphill battle competing in the Big Eight Conference but thinks his team will be up to the challenge.

“Kids are surprised sometimes how competitive they can be against the really good teams in our conference,” Hopkins said.

“And really, what I want is for our guys to have fun during the season and work hard to get better. As long as the guys share their enthusiasm with their peers, I think it’s going to be fun season.”

The Cougars host the Craig Invitational on Saturday.

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