BY MAYA LAWNICKI —
The boys swim team took home a second place finish at the state meet in Madison after a productive season. The second place finish at the state meet was their best finish since 1949.
“The guys were incredibly committed, extremely dedicated to the task at hand, and really motivated to accomplish their goals by the end of the season,” said Tom Miazga, head coach.
After losing nine of its previous members, the smaller team consisted largely of seniors who were able to create several long-term goals and encourage their team. The members of the state team included Henri Carignan, Joe Lock, Michael Perry, Willem van den Kieboom, Tommy Chamberlain and Zach Hammond, seniors, Lucas Barry and Charlie Phillips, juniors, and Evan Szablewski, freshman. Perry and Carignan also were the team captains this year.
“The team was definitely led by some guys who have been around for many years and had a lot of experience to share with the rest of the team,” Miazga said. Sophia Schmidt, assistant coach, agrees that the smaller and more close-knit team was beneficial for their success at state. “The size of the team was just about perfect. We were never too crowded or fighting over space between one another,” Schmidt said.
In his first year as head coach, Miazga came in with a slightly different approach to his training style. Miazga noticed that although the upperclassmen had been trained with a slightly more aerobic system, they responded very well to the change in the training system as well as an out of water training plan.
“I think I put a bit more focus on sprint work as well as a bit more focus on specific training for different races. When you switch your training style to something you are not used to you are going to find benefits in it one way or the other,” Miazga said.
“Tom would give us shorter sets more focused on quality. Everything was based on how well we were swimming versus how much we were swimming. I think that proved very beneficial for our team,” Perry said.
Schmidt also agrees that the new system had benefits and the swimmers seemed very motivated to achieve at state.“We were motivated, inspired and fired up for the entire season. For the entire season, our motivation was fueled by our excitement. And that motivation fueled more excitement to create a nice positive feedback loop for our team,” Schmidt said.
Although the team worked diligently under their coaches’ instruction, there were a few obstacles the team encountered throughout the season. In addition to the flu season this year, there were a few cases of walking pneumonia among the swimmers. Schmidt said that it is normal to have these types of obstacles.
“It would be unheard of to not have obstacles in a regular season. What impresses me always is how we overcome them,” Schmidt said. On the day of state, the team was excited and ready to carry forth the goals and expectations they had set out on themselves at the beginning of the season.
“From the get-go they didn’t let the huge crowds or the other swimmers around them slow them down or let them falter,” Miazga said. “We knew that when we scored more points that we were supposed to in the first half of the meet, we were going to finish very strong. We really did start taking over in the second half to put together an incredible meet for Shorewood.”
Perry agreed. “Watching my teammates do what they did definitely energized me a bit,” he said. “The amazing races put together by the team really brought things into perspective to show how incredible this team really was.”
The 400 freestyle relay including Chamberlain, Lock, Barry and van den Kieboom set a new school record. “You could just see that all the hard work that we had put in through everything that we had gone through this season just paid off at that meet,” Schmidt said. “Everyone was so proud and happy with how the swimmers did and how the meet turned out.”
Both coaches agree that the second place finish at state pulled together a powerful finish to cap off the season. “It was very humbling for me to have the opportunity to work with such great athletes and I know that wherever they go in the future they will achieve great things,” Miazga said.
Perry said that this season will leave a lasting impression on him. “I am never going to forget this group of guys that I went to state with,” Perry said. “It was a whole lot of fun and I am glad that I spent my high school swim season with them.”