Swim team skyrockets with addition of new athletes


Hanna LeBuhn

Senior Zack Wedemeyer swims during practice on Tuesday, Dec. 9. The men’s swim team has drastically increased in numbers this season compared to last season.

“The new surge of boy swimmers are doing an amazing job dedicating their time to this sport,” junior Carly Lyon said. “They push themselves during practice and all liven up the team with their attitudes.”

The amount of females on the swim team are about average compared to the years past. However, there has been a spike of male swimmers that tried out this year.

With recent additions, the swim team is looking forward to a season filled with new faces.

“I believe there are a lot more people on the team this year predominantly because others on the team are trying to get other [students] to come out,” varsity swimming head coach Larry Dukes said.

“One person decided they were going to swim so everyone else thought it would be a good idea to swim. I also think there’s been more people swimming this year because it’s something different and it gets you in really good shape,” junior varsity swimmer Julia Dukes said.

“A group of us that joined the team last year really enjoyed it and told a lot of people how much fun it was and they decided to join and see what it was like,” junior Michael Imbierowicz said.

Not everyone gets the opportunity to swim during the winter. Lyon thinks this is why there has been an increase in new additions to the team. “I believe that there are so many new swimmers because people began to realize that being on the swim team meant being able to swim in the winter, and who doesn’t love to swim?” Lyon said.

The team practices at the Arena Club in Bel Air three times a week at Tuesday and Thursday nights at 8 p.m. and on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. There are just under 50 athletes swimming this year according to Dukes. When the team practices they are restricted to swimming in four lanes in the Arena Club’s covered pool.

Junior Megan Piercy swims at practice preparing for an upcoming meet. Piercy has been on the swim team for three years.
Hanna LeBuhn
Junior Megan Piercy swims at practice preparing for an upcoming meet. Piercy has been on the swim team for three years.

“It does get a little cramped in the pool but with not everyone showing up to every practice it is manageable,” Julia Dukes said. There are two lanes that are reserved for Arena Club members but often times, when they aren’t in use, the team will use those two lanes as well.

With more players on the team this year Larry Dukes admits that getting everyone involved is a bit difficult. “You can only have a certain number of official swimmers in a heat,” Larry Dukes said.

According to Larry Dukes, unofficial heats have been created. The purpose of these heats are to get everyone on the team involved and also to help the less experienced swimmers get more practice. These heats are designed to correlate an official heat, but the scores aren’t conclusive.

“Having more players makes the team a lot better,” Dukes said, “practices are more fun and there’s a greater overall camaraderie between everyone. It’s more fun to have people to train with rather than training by yourself.

Junior Adam Mroweic enjoys swim practice and enjoys the coaching style of Dukes. “Larry Dukes is a great guy. He makes the practice environment hard working, but also a lot of fun,” junior Adam Mrowiec said.

“Having more numbers definitely helps but everyone’s lack of experience holds us back,” Imbierowicz said.

The surplus of players hasn’t been too tough of a task for Dukes. “It hasn’t been too much of a challenge for me because I’m used to it. I coach a club swimming team that has over 100 people on it.”

Approximately 20 percent of this year’s swim team is competing in another winter sport. With swim practice occurring later in the evening it makes playing another winter sport manageable. As of this year, IAAM rules have been changed allowing females to compete in two sports in a single season. Previously, women could only compete in one sport a season according to IAAM rules, while men could compete in as many sports they wanted to per season.

For a few swimmers, like Imbierowicz, the varsity swim team is only one of two winter sports they are participating in. In addition to swimming, Imbierowicz  is also a member of the varsity indoor track team and will receive two varsity letters this winter.

Mrowiec is also a two sport winter athlete. He is a member of the varsity swim team along with the varsity indoor track team. “Playing two sports is not easy but it’s worth it. I’m having fun running track and swimming with my good friends,” Mrowiec said.

Alex Rasmussen is a News Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.