Massabesic’s Sophia LaFrance competes in the butterfly. //ALEX SPONSELLER/ Journal Tribune

Massabesic’s Sophia LaFrance competes in the butterfly. //ALEX SPONSELLER/ Journal Tribune

The Massabesic swimming and diving team enjoyed a highly successful 2015 season, finishing in third place in states while also having swimmers finish atop the leaderboards.

The Mustangs hope to repeat last year’s success, and look poised to do so with a handful of veteran swimmers returning.

Although much of the roster remained intact, Massabesic hired Sam Burne as the Mustangs’ coach. Burne hopes that he and his staff can create a successful and consistent program.

“Stability, consistency, and enthusiasm. Coach Hockhousen and I hope to bring a strong committed work ethic with the underlying goal of successful longevity to the program,” said Burne.

Burne also feels fortunate to have such a veteran group. Having that leadership from the upperclassman has helped the Mustangs already build a strong foundation, while also instilling the value of hard work and dedication in the pool.

“I’ve seen a lot of hard work — swimmers individually dedicated to adjusting their stroke to improve. It is a rare quality that not all teams have,” said Burne.

“There is no substitute for veteran leadership and it has certainly helped the transition of this team. Our captains Joanna LaFrance and Nathan Messier have been instrumental in the success of this team so far.”

Although it has been a smooth transition for the 2016 Mustangs, there have been some natural bumps along the way. However, Burne and his staff are confident that no hurdle will be too much to overcome.

“The support of all of the swim parents and the community have allowed us to keep challenges to a minimum. There are always bumps in the road, especially with a new coaching staff, but when you hit a bump, you readjust and keep moving forward,” said Burne.

It is early in the season, but Burne has already seen improvement in the pool and believes that this team can not only match the success of 2015, but exceed it. “We are seeing it now in the pool at practice. The ability to make adjustments and persevere by working harder than the next team. Having that growth mindset allows you to exceed expectations,” said Burne. “I am proud of this team so far, and good things will come to those that work for it.”

— Associate Sports Editor Alex Sponseller can be reached at [email protected] or at 282- 1535 ext. 323. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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