CLARKSBURG -- Area prep swimming teams will literally get their feet wet on Saturday during the sixth annual Clarksburg Rotary Holiday Invitational High School Swim Meet at the Harrison County YMCA.
The meet will feature 12 teams, including the defending state champion Fairmont Senior boys team and Parkersburg girls team.
"It's a stepping stone to the season, and it's the first meet for some of the teams," meet director Scott Wilson said. "That's why we plan it so early."
According to Wilson, the meet allows teams to enter every swimmer on their rosters in their maximum number of events. Wilson said some meets limit the numbers from each team in each event.
"That's the nice thing about this meet," Wilson said. "It allows the teams to get a good gauge on their swimmers and what events their swimmers are best at."
Despite losing three teams from last year's event, Wilson said the meet was able to replace them with schools just starting their programs -- Doddridge County, Parkersburg South and Williamstown.
Those three teams, along with Fairmont Senior and Parkersburg, will be joined by Robert C. Byrd, Bridgeport, Liberty, Lincoln, Buckhannon-Upshur, Elkins and Preston.
"Last year and this year are the largest meets we've had," Wilson said.
Another asset to the meet is the computer timing, according to Wilson.
And the annual event is the reason the YMCA has the timing equipment.
"The proceeds will be used to purchase further electronic equipment," Wilson said. "Now we have a one-line scoreboard for each swimmer. We'd like to get a six-line scoreboard for each lane."
He said the computer timing validates times for the swimmers to help them enter higher level meets. The times are also valuable to college coaches, who use them for recruiting purposes.
Plus, Clarksburg's central location allows West Virginia college coaches an opportunity to see several swimmers in one event.
"Swimming has grown rapidly in our area, and it's nice to see the Harrison County swimmers get the opportunities to compete on the college level," Wilson said.
The meet begins at noon.
Sports editor Danny Carpenter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.