Like a lot of teenage girls, members of Plymouth's cross country team spent a lot of time in a swimming pool last month.
The biggest difference, however, was that the Wildcats were in search of conditioning, not leisure.
Three days a week last month, the harriers dove into Canton's swimming pool for workouts that built endurance and muscles without putting stress on their joints.
"We've been adding swimming to the two-a-day workouts the past couple of years," said Plymouth head coach Mary Kerwin. "We run every morning, swim three afternoons and lift the other two afternoons, Monday through Friday. The swimming provides great cardio for the girls and the less time on their legs will, hopefully, reduce injuries."
Like last season, Plymouth's roster is stocked with a lot of young runners.
"We have 12 girls who are new to either cross country or the school," said Kerwin. "It will be interesting to see what happens this year because we haven't raced yet. Our first race will provide a benchmark to base the girls' goals for the season.
"Last year we did OK. But I've always said the measure of success isn't always what people see in the wins and losses. We didn't win a lot last year, but we had a lot of PR's and we showed great improvement from the beginning of the season to the end."
The Wildcats' No. 1 runner heading into the season is junior Nicole Traitses, who qualified for the Division 1 state meet as a freshman.
"Nicole is obviously our front-runner," said Kerwin. "We lost three of our top seven from last season. I look at it as an opportunity for some girls to step up."
Freshman Brianna Lax has displayed a ton of potential, Kerwin added.
Others who head into the season with high expectations are senior captain Britta Swanson, Julie Hahn, Elyse Gryniewicz, Sophie Roberts, Mandy McSween, Jordyn Strahm, Marina DeBiasi and Constadina Manettas.
Pictured in the above-right photo are (front row from left) Nadya Rebar, Aspasia Manettas, Jess Graham, Nicole Traitses, Sophie Roberts, Jordyn Strahm, (back row from left) Paige Stevens, Adrienne White, Elyse Gryniewicz, Britta Swanson, Constadina Manettas, Tricia Pniewski and Kate Ramey.
Pictured are senior captains (from left) Adrienne White, Jess Graham and Britta Swanson.