Lined around the perimeter of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point swimming pool are banners of conference championships, rockstar aquatic athletes and water-stained inspirational quotes. Another season has started for the swimming and diving co-ed team.
There are over 35 members of the swimming and diving team competing this year with a fair representation of freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors.
Ethan Bott, senior backstroke and freestyle swimmer, is entering his fourth season swimming for the Pointers.
“There is a large group of senior guys, we have the potential to motivate the team. We want to lead by example,” said Bott. “For freshman it can be hard to push through it all. The time commitment is a lot to handle.”
Senior diver Sean Cloghessy mentioned that this year’s dive team is big, which gives everyone an advantage.
“Support is the biggest thing. When you’re all alone on the board it is nice to know the whole team is down there supporting you,” said Cloghessy.
Head coach Al Boelk has 20 years of swimming under his belt and a unique mindset for coaching.
The University of Minnesota alumnus swam for four years as a Gopher and coached for two years at the same institution before heading to UWSP.
“I’ve never left college,” joked Boelk.
Boelk is not only teaching his team to succeed in the water, he is hoping the swimmers keep a clear mindset beyond the world of athletics.
“Perspective is the team’s largest strength. They see the bigger picture of what’s really important and that there’s a lot of other reasons to do this,” said Boelk.
When it is so early in the season, the group needs to start evolving into a team and beyond that into a family.
“As seniors leave and freshman come in the team needs to create chemistry,” said Boelk.
While most athletes strive to be the best, coach Boelk has other goals for his army of swimmers.
“I want everybody here to take care of eachother, in and out of the pool. Academically I want them to succeed, then I want them all to reach their best times,” stated Boelk. “Real things come first. Then, everything else will fall into place. There is a process.”
The swimming and diving team will compete against UW-Eau Claire and St. Cloud University at the UWSP aquatic center on Oct. 22.