With the season right around the corner, the swim team prepares for another successful year.
“We have a great group of returners and freshmen coming in from last season,” senior Cassie Matthys said. “I think that will happen again this year. We have been training hard and are excited to begin competing.”
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point men’s and women’s swimming and diving team both finished in the top four at the conference meet last season with the men’s team claiming their 15th consecutive title.
“This will be our 16th year,” junior Kyle McNair said. “I want to keep up the tradition of winning the conference title.”
Last season, the team lost a lot of seniors and remains a relatively young team.
“Last season was a great year,” head coach Alan Boelk said. “We had 18 seniors leave and a ridiculous amount of new people. It was time to reinvent the wheel and we did.”
McNair noticed the difference in the team from his freshman year to sophomore and continues to see the changes.
“Coming in last year as a sophomore, there was a huge difference as a team,” McNair said. “We lost a lot of seniors and now it’s a totally different atmosphere. The team is like family.”
Boelk has a plan for this year. Since the season is so long he wants to focus on the details.
“We need to focus on the proper way to do things and do all of the little things each day,” Boelk said. “Staying healthy, doing well in classes, training hard and doing all of the fundamentals every day. If we do that, we can have the best possible season we can.”
Boelk did not want to fixate on numbers or standings, especially this early in the season.
“Don’t put the cart before the horse, and if we do everything right, my season goals will fall into place,” Boelk said.
Not only was the team successful in the pool, but there are a few key elements from last season they hope will carry over this year.
“We are hoping to carry over the positive attitude, hard work and closeness of the team last year,” Matthys said.
McNair agreed, and added that he wants to continue to see the work ethic that existed in and out of the pool last season.
“I want to keep my grades up to represent the team and eventually make it to nationals on a relay this year,” McNair said.
Boelk has high hopes for these two athletes along with the rest of the team to achieve their goals.
“This will be a good year for team bonding,” Boelk said. “I can already feel our team coming together.”
The support that comes with a close-knit team is an important part of swim practice.
“Comradery of the team is really important,” McNair said. “There are 70 people in the pool at once every day. Whether we have an easy set or hard day at school, we all get it done and have each other’s backs.”
McNair plans to take on a bigger leadership role this season.
“As a freshman I looked up to the juniors and seniors and now it’s my turn to do that for the younger people,” McNair said.
Every member of the team is important no matter how big of a role they play when it comes to scoring.
“It’s more of a team sport than you think,” Boelk said. “We are going to need everyone to come together if we’re going to have a good year. Even the people who don’t score a lot of points are important cogs in the wheel.”
Matthys agreed that everyone will need to come together to achieve common goals.
“One of my goals for this season would to be to place well in conference this year,” Matthys said. “It will take both the swimmers and divers peaking in February for us all to succeed.”
Looking past conference, getting to the national level is another goal on the swimmer’s minds. Five women went to the National Collegiate Athletic Association championships last year and they are hoping to return with a bigger group.
Unfortunately, the men’s team did not have any swimmers compete at the national level, but they hope to next year.
“We were really close to making it to nationals in a relay,” McNair said. “We missed it by a hair length.”
UW-La Crosse, UW-Whitewater and UW-Eau Claire are among a few teams that will pose tough competition for the Pointers this year. St. Cloud State will also provide strong nonconference competition.
Sometimes it just takes one good race for a tough meet to come together.
“If someone has a good race that energy can spur on someone else,” Boelk said. “It defies logic, but when it happens it’s magical.”
For now, Pointer swimmers will focus on the start of the season while they wait to see what the rest of the year has in store.
“I am looking forward to training with the team and to see everyone compete,” Matthys said. “It will be really fun to get back into the swing of competition. As always, it’s great to compete in our WIAC conference.”