The Atascadero Greyhounds and Paso Robles Bearcats kicked off the swim season this past Friday afternoon with a dual meet against each other at the Atascadero High School pool. Due to the limited space at the Greyhounds pool, no spectators were allowed to watch the meet.

It was the first competition of the season for both teams, who had their seasons a year ago cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though it was only their first time racing someone other than their teammates, the Bearcats already looked in midseason form, defeating the Atascadero boys 136-13 while the girls won 102-65.

“It feels great to have everyone out here again,” Girls head coach Michael Sauret told the Atascadero News. “It feels a little bit of normal while everything is still upside down. It feels awesome; you have to kind of catch yourself sometimes, but the mask is a good reminder for yourself, but it feels great to be out here.”

This season the Bearcats have a head coach for both the boys and girls swim teams. Sauret, who was the head coach last year, now coaches the girls while boy’s water polo coach Collin Moore has become the new boys head swim coach.

“It is a good way to get the polo boys to swim and get the swimmers to — you know not all of them play polo — but just to get them more invested and together, united,” Moore said of holding both the water polo and swim jobs at the same time. “Sharing that athlete base is pretty common between polo and swim, but it is nice to be able to see the boys all year round and know what they are doing and being able to talk to them and motivate them.”

The meet began with the girl’s 200-yard medley relay and was won by the Bearcat team of Abby Springer, Mackenzie Ruppe, Holly Disimone, and Kendall Moffitt with a time of 1:57.65. The Greyhounds team of Annika Pauscheck, Maggie Uceda, Sophia Donati and Makayla Power finished with a time of 2:08.08

While the Greyhounds didn’t win many races on Friday, it did not affect the team’s outlook nor its coaches, who were just happy to finally be back in the water.

“I am super stoked and excited to have the kids back out in the water,” Atascadero head swim coach Alyx Truax said. “I think everyone has been cooped up and looking forward to having an activity to do again. Getting everyone outside and socializing in a safe way.”

The girl’s 50-yard freestyle was one of the tighter races in the day with Moffitt, who recently signed to swim for California Lutheran University, edging out Atascadero’s Power. Moffitt finished with a time of 26.54 while Power touched at 28:72, just ahead of Paso Robles’ Tyler Seidel.

For more information on last week’s prep athletics in the North County, click here to view “Weekly Sports Update.”

Getting through this together, Atascadero