Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

By Gerry Steele

A lack of numbers is a concern for Baker swim coach Paula Moe, both immediately and for the future.

The Bulldogs have just 13 swimmers on their current roster, including five returning swimmers from a year ago. There are nine boys and four girls on the roster.

Tommy Lien, Randy Reid, Lance Dunn, Katie Vela and Mackenna Bachman are the lone returning swimmers.

"We have a lot of young swimmers," Moe said.

"And the older swimmers, like Justin Aydolette and Levi Mansuetti, are new to the program."

Moe said small numbers not only make it tougher to compete against other teams at meets, but also doesn't bode well for the future of the program.

She said that she already has been told that numbers need to grow in the coming year or the program could face being dropped.

"It's rough on the budget," Moe said.

"We have to work through the numbers to keep the team alive. The biggest expense is travel"

Moe said it is costly to send a small team on a regular size school bus. A van probably would work better, but they aren't always available.

Moe said the Bulldogs have turned to fundraisers to help defray costs. She said a swim-a-thon is planned in mid-January.

Moe said despite the low numbers the Bulldogs are working hard.

"It's good that these kids get the chance to experience swimming," she said. "It's a lifelong sport, and it's a great way to stay in shape."

Baker will host the first of its two home meets Saturday at Sam-O Swim Center beginning at noon.