Lake Norman & Mooresville

Behind returners, Huskies look to build on first year

Tim Queen knows all about winning championships.

From his days at Shelby High to his reign as North Mecklenburg's swimming coach to the same position at Hough, Queen has proven that he could win at any level.

Queen has accumulated six state championships in his 24-year coaching career - his most recent title coming in 2008 with the Vikings boys.

In his first year as head coach at Hough last season, Queen led the Huskies to an I-Meck conference title, a third-place finish at the 4A Western Regional meet and a fifth-place finish at the 4A state meet.

The Hough girls had similar success, finishing second in the I-Meck, behind Lake Norman, and fifth at both the 4A Western Regional and state meets.

In year two of the program, Queen and his swimmers have lofty expectations that include contending for conference, regional and state championships.

"It's tough to have the expectations to be one of the best teams in the state already," said Queen. "But we hope to be right up there with the Providences, the Lake Normans and the North Mecks. But it won't be easy because all of these programs have had years and years of success."

Hough definitely has the numbers to compete, with more than 80 swimmers coming out. The Hough team is so big, Queen has broken it down into 'A' and 'B' squads for the meets.

The Hough boys' squad has the biggest expectations and talent, with All-American senior Peter Brumm leading the charge.

Brumm, who had Olympic trial qualifying times in the 200-yard freestyle, is one of the best swimmers in the state and proved it at states and regionals last year. Brumm, who has committed to Michigan, will also be big in the 100-yard butterfly, the event he won at the regional and state championship last season.

Brumm won't have to do it alone, as junior John Manchester also is a standout in several events including the 500-yard freestyle with juniors Andrew Botellho and Andrew Petry as well as freshman Jeffrey Manchester, John's younger brother, expected to be big contributors.

Sophomore diver Harrison Mitchell, who finished third in the state as a freshman, should also be a big key.

"Obviously, with Peter leading the way, we have a great shot at being a factor in all of our meets," said Queen. "But it will be a knock-down, drag-out fight with Lake Norman in our own conference. That should get us ready for the postseason."

The Hough girls also look to improve on an impressive debut, with several swimmers who have already proven themselves.

Senior captain Payton Schrum, who hopes to swim at N.C. State next year, will lead the way with her versatility, which allows her to swim freestyle, breast stroke or butterfly in a given meet. Schrum will get plenty of support from junior Ali Kitchens and sophomore Heather Merritt.

Merritt won the I-Meck title in the 200 IM last year.

Hough also has two newcomers expected to make an impact, West Virginia transfer Ally Dupay and freshman middle-distance freestyle and backstroker Emily Allen.

After a great inaugural season in the pool, the goals and expectations are sky high. But Queen is not looking too far ahead.

If Queen's track record is any indication, the Hough swimming teams could be adding some hardware to their trophy cases.