A promising start to the boys swimming season

The boys swimming season is well underway, with the team winning their first dual meet against Brown Deer on Wednesday, Dec. 2

As with all sports, things are looking a little different this year. Masks are required when swimmers are not in the pool and only small meets are allowed. 

“We have less meets overall, and the only meets that we do have, besides conference, sectionals and state, are just dual meets, so just one other team,” said Kyle Griswold, junior. “Usually we’d have bigger meets on the weekends, and those have all been cancelled this year.”

Usually we’d have bigger meets on the weekends, and those have all been cancelled this year.

— Kyle Griswold, junior

As a lifeguard for the girls swimming season, Ingram Lucier, senior and captain, got the opportunity to witness what in-person meets look like with the new regulations in place as well as how teams are responding to them. 

“I think the regulations are good, but there are some teams that their coaches don’t care at all, and the students don’t care at all either,” Lucier said. “…But most of the teams that we do see are pretty good about it. And the regulations, they are good.”

Cassie Rodriguez, head coach, was hoping that three teams would be allowed to compete against each other in-person. However, that is not the case.

“I was hoping maybe we’d be able to do triangular meets, like a meet with three teams instead of two teams — that’s not on Shorewood or anything — but I was hoping the situation with COVID would be a little bit better,” Rodriguez said. “But I understand that we can’t do it just because if we have three teams it would be a little bit different competition. But I think we’ll still be great with just the dual meets.”

The team is glad to have some normal meets, as dual meets are held in non-COVID seasons as well. 

“I’m looking forward to the meets,” Lucier said. “I’ve always preferred the smaller dual meets over the big meets, so I’m happy that we’re still doing those.”

The team also participates in some virtual meets to be able to compete against more teams, but these events don’t carry the same energy as in-person ones do. 

“Some of our meets are virtual, where we swim at our pool and they swim at their pool and we just kind of compare times,” Lucier said. “Kind of lame, but you know, whatever works.”

A successful girls season, from a COVID perspective, helped ensure that the boys would also get their turn. 

“I’m also on the WIAA advisory committee so I’m a part of that group that helps make that decision, and I think that fact that we were able to do it for the girls season was a really big positive, and it gets people thinking there’s definitely a chance that we can do it for the boys,” Rodriguez said. “I like being on that committee because then I’m ‘in-the-know’ on what’s happening.”

Despite the changes, the team is trying to keep some semblance of a normal season. Team bonding activities, however, are hard to organize in the current situation. 

“Our coach Cassie is doing a good job of at least trying to make it similar to what we would do normally,” Lucier said. “But obviously we don’t have a lot of the team events, like pasta dinners or like after meets we would often go get food together, or just kind of all that. We aren’t doing any of that.”

As far as the team itself, it has doubled in size and is made up of primarily underclassmen.  

“We’re looking really good this season,” Lucier said. “This is the biggest team that I’ve had through the whole of high school. We have I want to say 15 boys, which is exciting. It is very much younger. Almost half the team is freshman and we have a lot of sophomores, but not that many seniors and juniors. And the freshmen, they’re all really good, so we have a good shot at placing well at conference or state, or sectionals.”

We have seven freshmen on the team … and almost all of them have the potential to qualify for state.

— Cassie Rodriguez, head coach

Rodriguez agrees that having a young team is not a problem. 

“We have seven freshmen on the team which is almost the same size as our team was last year so we’ve doubled the team in one year and almost all of them have the potential to qualify for state,” Rodriguez said. 

The team has high hopes for their regular season as well as their “championship season,” a term they use to refer to conference, sectionals and state. 

“This year we want to try and win all of our dual meets which is something we haven’t been able to do in a while just because we haven’t had a very big team, and then we would like to place as high as we can at conference, sectionals and state,” Rodriguez said. “With this bigger team we have that potential to do it, and I really believe these boys could probably be top three at state this year. I think that the fact that the girls were runners up, I think is kind of motivation for them to try and do the same, if not better.”