Joey Kriegler learned how to swim at Asheville School, everything from holding his breath to treading water.
All the basic stuff occurred under the roof of Ambler Pool.
But the son of longtime Blues coach Frank Kriegler is much more advanced now, as are a lot of his teammates.
Joey Kriegler and the Blues placed third in last year’s NCISAA 3-A meet and have nothing less than the ultimate goal for the next state championship competition on Feb. 16 in Greensboro.
“This is our year and the one we’ve all been looking forward to,” Joey Kriegler said.
“We’ve had some great teams. But we’ve gotten some new guys in, and this team is better than any other I’ve been a part of. We’re setting our goals as high as we can.”
Asheville School students resume their first post-holiday classes next week.
Joey Kriegler and the Blues have a lot to build on.
The Asheville School boys and girls have been the first-place team in all five of their meets thus far.
And they have bettered a slew of school records.
On the boys side, Joey Kriegler has swam a Blues-best time of 1 minute, 51.33 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle and also contributed to a record 200-yard freestyle relay (1:33.29) along with Miller Albury, Nathan Alleyne and Ji-Hoon Jang.
That same combination of swimmers, minus Joey Krieger and subbing in Joshua Wong, now lays claim to the school record in the medley relay (1:43.19).
“We know that (defending champion) Charlotte Latin is going to be tough,” said Frank Kriegler, who in the midst of his 18th year with Asheville School’s program.
“But these kids really go think they can be up there. They believe they can compete.”
The Blues girls team have set even more record this winter.
Individually, those marks have fallen to Alexa Phillips (50-yard freestyle, 50.88, 100-yard backstroke, 1:03.72 and 100-yard freestyle, 56.00), Bella Ostlund (100-yard breaststroke, 1:11.33 and 200-yard individual medley, 2:19.83) and Rylynn Pierson (100-yard butterfly, 1:30.75).
Swimmers for the Blues are not only local and nationwide, but international aquatic athletes from the Bahamas, China, Korea and Saudi Arabia.
The next meet for the Asheville School boys and girls is the Knoxville (Tenn.) Varsity Invitational on Jan. 17-18.
The Blues have hosted the Buncombe County meet for decades and won the boys and girls team championships in 2014.
This year’s county meet was originally scheduled for Jan. 17.
But the public schools from Buncombe County have broken away to hold their own separate meet, dubbed the “Buncombe County High School Swimming Championship” on Jan. 16 at Skyland’s Zeugner Center. The meet is not open to athletes who don’t swim for Buncombe public schools.
As a result, the Blues cancelled their county-wide meet open to all Buncombe swimmers.
Asheville School will host the Carolinas Athletic Association meet on Feb. 6 and then 10 days later swim in the NCISAA 3-A meet in Greensboro.