The Pointer’s swim and dive team dove into its long season on Saturday, Oct. 21, when it traveled to take on UW-Eau Claire.
“Going into our first meet, it’s been a wonderful fall thus far,” head coach Al Boelk said. “We have a wonderful freshmen class.”
This year’s team is dominated by freshmen, with 18 on the men’s side and 11 on the women’s.
With such a large portion of the Pointers team underclassmen, it presents a different challenge for Boelk, assistant coach Justin Stoffel and diving coach Sara Schierl.
“It’s all fun. I like working with the old dogs, and I like figuring out the new ones,” Boelk said. “This is my 21st year, and every year I get to work with freshmen, seniors and everybody in between.”
On the men’s side, 15 junior and senior swimmers return to the water as the leaders of this experienced squad. Although the men’s team had an outstanding season last year, Boelk says he’s not expecting great results.
“The way I think about it, it isn’t where you’re going to place,” said Boelk. “I don’t think about it that way. I don’t care about winning. It’s if we do the right thing and do it well. If we do things right, we’ll probably win.”
The men’s team is in search of its 19th-straight Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) championship. After the victory in Eau Claire over the weekend, the men’s team already has a foundation laid that can be built upon.
For the women, Boelk is trusting the process.
“We’ve had two huge senior classes in back-to-back years. We’ve gone from pretty dominant to, well, not,” said Boelk. “We’re doing what they call in athletics a ‘rebuild.'”
Most notably on the women’s team, senior Jackie Braun was very close to qualifying for the NCAA championships last year. Boelk’s ultimate goal is to get Braun to the biggest stage of them all.
“We have a couple of divers that went to the NCAA zone meet last year and fell short of the NCAAs,” said Boelk. “It would be really cool for her to make the NCAA Championships. She’s such an incredible diver.”
Overall, goals are pretty simple for the 17-time WIAC coach of the year.
“I want them all to take care of each other, in and out of the school, do well in school, and do well in the pool,” Boelk said.