For years the Waverly men's swim team was a force in this area. It looks like those times are returning.

Last year the Wolverines had a little bit of a down year, but this year they've returned towards the top of the IAC, challenging Watkins Glen and Lansing.

"We're doing a lot better than we expected this year," Sophmore James Rynone said.

That's the theme that seems to be running throughout the team.

"We're doing pretty good with such a young team again," Freshman Brighton Wood added.

There have been several factors for their resurgence.

"Everyone's doing good with performances" Rynone said, "getting second and third places that count. A lot of kids have done better. Kids are coming to morning practices and stuff. A few seniors have come in strong for us. Everyone's contributing."

Wood believes that some of the workouts they do help, too.

"Its mostly because of the hard practices our coach gives us" Wood said about the improvement, "Swimming high yardage. And we all just put forth a lot of effort and try to beat the teams were going against."

This has come to a big surprise to some.

"We have such a young team" James said, "We didn't expect all the kids to progress so well but they have. Everyone's really trying, all the two days have really paid off this year."

One of those younger swimmers that has come on is sophomore Zach Rynone.

"I feel I'm doing as good as I possibly can" he said, "I feel stronger."

"Zach is doing well this year" James said about his cousin, "He's dropped time really fast."

Both of them do the 500 and 200 freestyles, which has led to a little bit of a friendly rivalry.

"I try to beat him" Zach said about James, "He's just gotten a lot bigger than me."

But Zach is closing in.

"He's done really well in practice" James said, "He's beaten me."

Zach is still hoping to beat his cousin in a meet, though.

"I'm going to feel a heck of a lot happier" Zach said about when he beats James, "I've been trying to beat him pretty much the entire time I've been on the swim team."

With all of these internal improvements, the Wolverines are hoping to take back the IAC.

"Were looking for an IAC Championship" James said, "Watkins beat us in dual meet scoring but we should make it real close for them. Tying Lansing is a real big step for us, we haven't touched them in a few years."

Individually, they all have high goals this year.

"I might be able to win a division championship in my 200 I.M." James said, "I should be pretty competitive in the 500 free, too."

The 500 has been James' main event for a while now.

"I've been working on it since the seventh grade" he said, "Doing a lot of sets like 3,000 for time has really helped."

As for the I.M., his breast stroke has been the key.

"I've picked up really good time on the breast stroke" James said, "My fly and back have really come along this year and my free is always there at the end of the race."

Wood is just looking to place high for his team.

"I'm hoping to get second" he said, "along with in first in the 100 breast at IACs and sectionals."

With all of the progress they've made this year, the swimmers are eager to look forward to the next few years.

"I'm hoping to get under five in the 500 free and get under two in the 200" Zach said, adding with a smirk, "Hopefully beat James a couple times."

James is setting the bar high for himself.

"I want to qualify for states in a few events my senior year" he said, "The breast stroke and maybe the 200 I.M. I have a real good chance at doing it if I keep training real hard with everybody."

Wood is also looking at doing well in the breast stroke.

"I'm just hoping to get down to the one minute and under range" he said, "I just want to get pretty high up there."

Zach is still a little unsure about his chances at making states, but is still planning to give it a shot.

"Maybe my senior year" he said, "I hope I can. I think I can."

Team wise, they all believe that Waverly will be atop the IAC in the near future.

"I think we might be a good team later on" Zach said.

Several younger kids have shown promise this year.

"We've got kids like Tyler Doane, Jake Hogan and John Hallett who are pulling off fast times and getting those second places" James said, "Relays can be state qualifying times. We might be able to go for a Waverly school record on some of these relays. We've got a real good back stroker in John Hallett and a good young flyer in Jake Hogan."

"I think by the time we all get up in high school and our younger kids get older we could be looking at number one in the section" Wood added, "We have two middle schoolers in eighth grade in our relay. By the time we have them in the junior/senior year we could have a very good relay."

On dominating the IAC in the future, they don't shy away.

"I do" Zach confidently stated.

In fact, they're looking beyond the local competition and winning a state championship. Wood believes.

"I think there's a good possibility."