Both the boys and girls Caesar Rodney swim teams opened their seasons with victories on Thursday, defeating the Lake Forest Spartans.

The Riders dominated each event on both sides Thursday, giving the state a sneak peak at just how tough this CR team might be this season.

The boys cruised by the Spartans 136-60 behind a strong effort from the bulk of their returning swimmers from last season. Aaron Green, Talon Gerber, Alex Stauff, Theodore Kruppa and Bobby Zipp all picked up where they left off last year helping the Rider boys finish at the top of each event Thursday.

Green continued his growth into one of the better options for the Riders in the 200m freestyle and 100m breaststroke with an impressive outing Thursday. Meanwhile, Stauff and Gerber shined in the 200m individual medley and 400m freestyle.

Together, the group of Green, Gerber, Stauff and Kruppa, took first place in the 200m medley relay and 400m free relay.

On the girls side of things, Caesar Rodney capped off their first meet of the season with a win over Lake Forest as well on Thursday, 104-66.

Katie Bole, who qualified for states last season, starred in the 100m freestyle Thursday for the Riders. Also, Sloan Barton, Leanna Harris, and Julia Haynes also had solid days in the pool for CR in the victory.

For the Riders, this is hopefully the first victory of many this season. While the usual suspects impressed on Thursday, Caesar Rodney head coach Leah Brooks believes they have some underclassmen ready to contribute this season, they just have to standout. And with plenty of options coming out of this freshmen class, the Riders are excited to see the improvement in their performance in the pool.

“We have some promising younger swimmers on our team this year,” said Brooks. “It’s still too early to tell the actual impact our freshmen will have but I’m seeing a lot of potential with the underclassmen. They seem to be hard working and dedicated group of athletes.”

Along with the promise of the younger talent this season, the returning group of Riders provides some lofty expectations for this Caesar Rodney team.

“With the group we have, my expectations are high,” said Brooks. “Our main goal is to improve our standings at conferences. Our boys came in third last year so I’m looking to go first or second this season, the girls came in fifth, so I’m looking for them to improve to at least third, if not better.”

The Riders obviously have loads of talent on both the boys and girls teams this season, and after not qualifying as many swimmers for states last year as hoped, Brooks is looking to help turn that around this season.

“As a coach, I would love to see more swimmers make the states in individual events,” Brooks said. “We have a lot of kids who were very close last year, so I would be happy to see them drop their times and make it to states.”   

The Riders will return to the pool on Tuesday when they travel south to take on Sussex Central in a meet taking place after our press time. Though, next up for the Riders will be a match up with rival Dover on Thursday in the last meet before the holiday break. Swimmers are expected to hit the water starting at 3:30 p.m. at the Central YMCA.