Boys swim and dive team progress toward upcoming season


Photo by Taya Hehn

The Stillwater Area High School boys swim team at their first sim meet Dec 9. They won and celebrated by swimming laps with each other.

Cambrie Cole, Photographer and Public Relations

The boy swim and dive team has returned for another season after taking 6th in the state tournament last year. The team has been working hard to prepare for the new season, with many members training off-season. Practices officially started on Nov. 29. The captains and coaches set new goals for their roughly 18 new members, and preparations for the first meet on Dec. 9 are underway.

Senior Richard Hartman, five-year swimmer and captain said, “our team’s general goal this year is at least to beat Eastridge, our only real competition in our conference right now, which might be hard because we lost a lot of good guys last year, and my individual goal is to get personal best in breaststroke again.”

Leadership is a huge factor for the team, with many newly arrived younger members, the captain’s goals are directed towards getting to know the newcomers and improving overall team performance. Alex Kaphingst, a six-year swimmer and captain, touches on the importance of being a good role model and supporting others’ goals.

“With all these new kids joining, we were all one of them before and it’s something that they’ll be someday, our job is for us to help them and maintain that goal, have them push themselves harder than they think, and get them out of their comfort zone,” Kaphingst said.

Sam Ciegler, six-year swimmer and captain shared his commitment to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, where he will be swimming for their team.

“I can take leadership as a key factor, when I get up to be a junior or senior there I could also be a captain and I could transfer my knowledge from here in high school swimming,” Ciegler said.

Every new season brings excitement and nerves, Junior Jaden Peterson, a five-year swimmer, said he gets nervous before meets, but has a working method to release those feelings and work towards his goals for the best time.

“I definitely get really nervous, I’m just telling myself, I’m gonna try my best and I’m gonna go out there and give everything I have, that’s kind of how I deal with my nerves, knowing at the end of the day I tried,” Peterson said.

The ongoing COVID-19 virus has made competing difficult for all sports teams in the past year and a half. This new reality has been challenging for the team, especially with the fear of the new variant cutting the season short. Taking precautions remains difficult for swimmers, due to the water aspect.

Senior, Dylan Deagazio, a six-year swimmer and captain said last year, social distancing and later start times impacted not only their conditioning but team bonding as well.

“For me personally that killed me starting later,” Deagazio said.

The team’s successful high scores and 6th place in last year’s state tournament is a goal head coach Brain Luke, and assistant coach Bill Kalseim, plan to maintain and possibly beat this season.

“The guys at state last year did a really good job, we graduated a lot of really good seniors last year, so there’s a big gaping hole to fill there, and trying to fill that in is key to us maintaining athletic success,” Luke explained.

This is coach Luke’s 47th year, as head coach for the boys and girls, swim and dive teams.  Luke enjoys it a lot, especially his connection with the players and sport. A former teacher for 35 years, his main philosophy of maintaining a level of discipline for his students, remains consistent in his coaching methods.

“I try to maintain team rules, team discipline, individual discipline, and holding the bar at a level, make the athletes move to the bar and don’t drop the bar,” said Luke.

The boys swim and dive will be ready for their season, under the leadership of their team coaches and captains, and their personal dedication and commitment to achieving team goals. Their next meet is on Jan. 20 against Park high school.

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Cambrie Cole, Photographer and Public Relations Editor

My name is Cambrie Cole and I'm a photographer and Public Relations Editor for the Ponyexpress Newspaper. Currently, I am in 11th grade and enjoy exploring...