Swim Team’s Success Flows into Postseason

Susquehannock Swim Team 2023-2024, photo courtesy of @suskyswim on Instagram.
Susquehannock Swim Team 2023-2024, photo courtesy of @suskyswim on Instagram.

From before the sun rises to after the sun sets, the Susquehannock swim Tteam spends hours in the pool of the YMCA preparing and perfecting their events to knock as many seconds off the clock as possible.

After months of persistent training and dedication, the team takes their success into the postseason and performs beyond their original predictions.

For what will be many of the swimmers’ last ever high school meet, the team will suit up and head to Bucknell University for States this weekend in hopes of bringing home some hardware.

Losing eight seniors from last year’s team, Coach Brian Wingert knew the gaps that needed to be filled in order to have a successful season.
Last year, the boys team won the Division, and multiple school records were broken at States.
“…we knew what we had coming back, we knew where our strengths lied, and a lot of last year’s freshmen and sophomores really stepped up this year to fill in some of the gaps…,” Wingert said.

The Susquehannock swim team poses as a group. Photograph Courtesy of @suskyswim via Instagram

Looking at these challenges that were presented this year in rearranging the team, Wingert shares his take on this past season, “I think we had a great season overall, we were very successful, you win some meets, you lose some meets, but over the course of the year everybody got faster, everybody is a better swimmer overall now than on the first day of practice and that’s really the goal; to grow in the sport and to grow in your abilities.”
When planning sets for practices, specifically in the postseason, Wingert must keep in mind the events of each swimmer and how to accommodate to their training needs for their events. Since swimmers do not have to be as versatile in the postseason as they do in the regular season, they are able to focus on the tiny details of their events and “basically swim with their eyes closed.”
In order to prepare for big meets, the team begins to zone in on the fine points of their events to make everything as flawless as possible.
“[In] postseason we spend a lot more time focussing on the tiny aspects of our race to make them so fluid that you don’t even have to think about it…we want all of that to be natural, second nature to you,” Wingert said.
However, one differential in the practice schedule was the team’s preparation for counties. “I was very happy with our performance at counties…a lot of kids that swam and placed better than we thought they might going into it, simply because we hadnt really rested for that meet, we were more focused on the district meet,” Wingert said.
Senior Tyler Wright agrees with Wingert that the team was more focused on districts and therefore did not expect to see the mass success they did from counties with lots of time drops and new PRs.
“I think the team did great at counties,” Wright said. “I think [we] went into it thinking, lets get through this meet and then we’ll taper heavy for districts…we were more focused on districts, but it was a great meet…our relays are cohesive and it just really worked out, I was happy with them.”
Although Wright talks about his team’s success in postseason, he admits his uncertainty at the beginning of the season after the refining of the team’s roles.
“I was a little disappointed with not winning the division, losing to Dover,” Wright said. “And that made me a bit worried, with postseason and going into counties but our medley ended up being the one that is going to states…I’m more hopeful now after seeing what the guys can do.”
Mentioning the 200 medley relay that recently placed 4th at Districts, he and his teammates, senior Tyler Burgess, senior Isiah Voss and sophomore Jack Hammond, will take this relay to States to compete and are currently seeded 25th.
Wright was impressed by his peers as they adjusted to their new roles and raised his expectations in qualifying for finals. Not only will Wright be competing in the 200 medley relay, but he is also seeded 14th in the 100 fly and seeded 24th in the 100 breast. “I would like to final in individual events…that’s the goal…just make top 8, get the medal,” Wright said.

Senior Tyler Wright swims the 100 breaststroke; he will swim this event at States. Photograph Courtesy of Tyler Wright

Wright is not the only male individual heading to States; teammate senior Jackson Hollinger will be competing in the 500 free and is currently seeded 23rd.
On the girls’ side, teammate and senior Kate Kalmanowicz will also participate in an individual event at States,
“Even though we are not taking a girls relay team to states, I’m very proud of everyone,” Kalmanowicz said. “We just fell short of the states qualifying times, but, overall, we did the best that we could do…I was a little bit disappointed to have not qualified in the 500 freestyle…but I am very glad to have made the 100 butterfly, which has been a staple event of mine the past years of highschool.”

After making the switch and taking on a distance role this year, Kalmanowicz will  swim the 100 butterfly this weekend at States and is currently seeded 27th.
“I am really focusing on the basics, so that I’m just in the best mindset and condition as possible for states,” Kalmanowicz said. “I would love to qualify for finals from prelims in the morning in the 100 butterfly, and I would also love to go a PR.”
According to Kalmanowicz, in order to prepare for both Districts and States, the team tarpers and lessens yardages at practices to make sure their bodies are rested.
And after witnessing their team’s success in counties and districts, the seniors remain excited and positive in their hopes for States this weekend.
No matter the results, the two seniors share their appreciation for the Susquehannock Swim Team and the memories and lessons they have learned over the last 4 years.
“…[the team] supports each others goals no matter what your level is, if you know you’re going to go to states to if you’re just trying to make counties or trying to make districts, or if you’ve never swam before and you don’t know what butterfly is, we’ll have someone come and teach you, probably Wingert,” Wright said. “They’ll support you all the way, and even if your times do not matter and everyone just wants to be their best in practice, it’s a great atmosphere.”
Kalmanowicz reminisces on what the team means to her after swimming with them through the years,
“The swim team is a great group of people,” Kalmanowicz said. “I know I’ve had a blast swimming with them throughout the past 4 years, and I’m definitely going to miss it. I encourage more people to get involved with the swim team, because it really is just a fun thing to be a part of and really work hard, it’s a fun group.”

Senior Kate Kalmanowicz competing in the 500 free, photo courtesy of Jeffery Kalmanowicz.

Wingert’s last thoughts on the team reflect those of his swimmers, and he encourages all students to get involved.
“I would say that anybody that is interested or thinks they might be interested to give it a shot, and even if that’s not the swim team, ya’know try something out because these things give you the memories that will last you your lifetime,” Wingert said.

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