Dart Excels as Two-Sport Athlete

Marty Kauffman

mkauf036@uwsp.edu

Sierra Dart is an athlete that every coach wants. She has the competitiveness, work ethic, leadership, and strength every coach looks for in an athlete.

Dart is currently a member of the women’s swimming team and competes in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle, as well as the 100-meter breaststroke.

As a fifth-year senior, this is the only year she will be eligible to swim after playing on the women’s hockey team for four years.

Dart began playing hockey at the age of five and has always loved the sport. Her first year on a swim team was her freshman year of high school when she joined the team to get into shape for hockey.

Photo by Jack McLaughlin. After finishing four seasons with the hockey team Sierra Dart joined the swimming team for one season.

Photo by Jack McLaughlin.
After finishing four seasons with the hockey team Sierra Dart joined the swimming team for one season.

She always wanted to try to be a college athlete, so she decided to tryout for the women’s hockey team. Dart made the team and was a goalie for four years. Hockey was her first choice when it came to sports. Her goal was to play a sport in college because she loves challenges and is competitive.

“I’m the most competitive person you’ll meet,”Dart said. “ You put any challenge in front of me, I’ll try it.

Dart’s swimming ability was noticed by swimming head coach Al Boelk in his beginning swimming class at the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point. Boelk noticed her talent right away when she began swimming. He timed her swimming the length of the pool and her time was comparable to his swimmers.

Boelk immediately said to himself she is in the wrong sport. Over the years, both would jokingly talk about her joining the swim team in passing.

After her four years of hockey eligibility were up, she learned from an athletic trainer she could do a year of swimming so she joined the team.

This season, Dart has shown how impressive an athlete she is. She has adapted to training as a swimmer by building up her endurance and swim strength.

Boelk says it has been impressive to see her improve from where she was, as her times have dropped more than the average swimmer. Coach Boelk believes with the physical and mental tools she possesses, she could be an All-American if she had more eligibility.

Dart’s favorite moment on the swim team was when she had a swim- off with an All-American swimmer from UW-La Crosse and set a new personal record.

“ I couldn’t believe a swimmer I had in a beginning swimming class, tied an All-American swimmer in her first year,”Boelk said.

Dart’s strength and work ethic is what her coaches praise about her. Coach Ann Ninnemann of the women’s hockey team is glad to see a competitor like Dart still active.

“It’s awesome to keep her active, she loves to compete,”Ninnemann said.

Coach Boelk calls the experience unique and fun. He describes Dart as a natural leader who leads by example and a good team player in an individual sport, which he credits to Coach Ninnemann.

Both Dart and Boelk wonder what might have been if she swam for four years. Boelk wishes he had her for four years because he knows she is getting faster in the water.

Dart does not regret her time in hockey and feels being a two-sport college athlete is an accomplishment.

“ If you would’ve told me I’d be a two sport college athlete, I wouldn’t believe you,”Dart said.

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