Girls team adjusts to fewer swimmers and meets new head coach
The girls swim team started their season on August 11 with a smaller but more experienced team and a new head coach who is a national level para-athlete.
“I think we can be successful. We do have a small team, and we lost some of our more accomplished swimmers last year and the year before. Everyone is going to have to work harder, but we can do it,” said Eva Jorn, senior. and captain. This year the team consists of 21 girls, whereas last year the team had over 30. With only four new swimmers — three freshmen and one senior — the vast majority of the team are returning swimmers, over half of which are upperclassmen.
Sophia Schmidt, assistant coach, said that having lots of upperclassmen will help the team quickly adjust to the new head coach, Tom Miazga.
“This is good for the team so [the upperclassmen] can help adjust the newer swimmers with Tom’s program versus [Rob McCabe, previous head coach’s] old program and help smooth out the transition,” Schmidt said.
Miazga has had experience as a club coach for Cedarburg and the assistant and JV coach for the Grafton girls for the past three years. Under his instruction as assistant coach, the Grafton girls were able to win back-to-back state titles.
“Being able to take a team all the way is a good experience coming forward into this team,” Miazga said.
Miazga has started to implement a new program that many of the swimmers are not used to. This program is sprint-heavy versus the aerobic based program that McCabe implemented for several years. The program also involves more out of water exercises and weightlifting than the girls are used to.
“I’m hoping to that everyone grows individually and learns a strong sense of dedication and commitment to the team,” said Miazga.
“I am looking forward to this new program, and how the girls may just become a lot stronger,” Schmidt said.
Both coaches agree that the team looks very ready to take on the season, and win conference for the 10th time in a row.
“I think as a team we will be very successful. Having the strong upper classmen presence, they already know each other and they already have the strong bonds they need to be successful as a team,” said Schmidt.
Outside of coaching, Miazga competed in the Para Pan American games in Toronto this year as well as previous years, and in the Paralympic games in 2008. This year, he was elected to be the male captain for team USA for the Pan Am games.
At an early age, Miazga was diagnosed with a common type of cerebral palsy, known as spastic diplegia. Miazga said he is thankful for his swimming career and is excited to instruct the Shorewood swim teams this year.
“I started swimming because a few very special people in my life showed me that I am capable of achieving whatever I am willing to work for, disability or not. I am so humbled and content knowing I have an immense opportunity to return the favor,” Miazga said.
Senior captains created a “big sister little sister” program this year where an upperclassman and underclassman form close relationships and help each other through their high school swim season. Natalie Dess, senior, said she is looking forward to this program.
“I’m really excited to see how the friendships and relationships grow this year,” Dess said.
“So far the team has a very cohesive atmosphere. Everyone is working together and … being supportive of each other. From a coach’s standpoint, you couldn’t ask for more,” Miazga said.
The team’s first dual home meet was on August 26 against Grafton.
by Maya Lawnicki