ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WFRV) – The smell of chlorine. The splash of water against the sides as the swimmers practice their strokes. These are the comforting sounds of swim practice. The Ashwaubenon girls swim team has made it to sectionals and hopes to get a couple of their relays into the state tournament. But it hasn’t been an easy road.
“It’s definitely weird, not knowing if you are going to have a season, then having a season and then kind of trying to prepare for a quick season, ” Jaguars head coach Kari Kleczka said. “Our expectations were just really, get in the water, have fun, let’s go with the flow, kind of the theme of Covid, 2020 and 2021. Just kind of going with the flow and just have fun and lets make it the best year that we can possibly make it.”
The girls swimming season is usually held in the fall, but like many high school sports, the season was pushed back to the fall and condensed for many of the bigger schools in the Green Bay area. It was a hard mental pill for many athletes to swallow, including the seniors.
“Obviously it’s not what we wanted, but I’m just glad that we got something because I’ve been swimming with these girls my entire life and it just means a lot that I could spend my last year with the people I love swimming with,” Ashwaubenon senior Sydney Popp said.
Her teammates echoed her statement.
“I’m so happy we finally get the chance to have a season. In the fall, I was really devastated because I wasn’t used to this and now, just having this opportunity, I’m just so thankful for it,” fellow senior Hallory Domnick said. “We could be like other students across the country right now who don’t even have a season so I’m just thankful we have one.”
One of the biggest challenges is getting kids in shape for a season they usually play in the fall. But for swimmers, many of the pools in the area were closed due to COVID-19.
“It was very difficult, very short turnaround time and not a lot of pools were open to have those kids swim club and those off-seasons. But the girls definitely came in and worked hard. It’s tough,” Kleczka said. “It’s definitely been a weird season for all the teams that are swimming, so we’re all in the same boat with a quick season, quick training but they’re all taking it in strides.”
Girls sectional swimming begins Tuesday, March 30.