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Just keep swimming

Swim team freestyles to the finish line

Swimmers+dive+into+pool+during+meet.+
Swimmers dive into pool during meet.

Swimmers dive into pool during meet.

Swimmers dive into pool during meet.

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The Saint Viator boys’ swimming team has been one to watch lately, although this wasn’t necessarily destined from the start of the season.

The very beginning of the swim season may have been a little rocky for the Lions because of the fact that they had a new head coach, Mr. Sam Wilcher, who had previously been a coach at Alligator Aquatics and an assistant coach for the Saint Viator girls swimming team.

“It took a while for them to understand me, me to understand them,” said Coach Wilcher. The challenges included the varying levels of skill, kids missing practices at the beginning of the season, bringing everything together and reading Wilcher’s notoriously confusing workouts. Despite these challenges, Wilcher says he and the boys really started to click, and they started to trust him when he made the team have a practice right before their first meet took place. To the boys, this seemed crazy, but when the meet was over and they all had the best meets of their lives, the trust really set in.

The Saint Viator team managed to start out the season strong at the Fenwick Meet, receiving second place overall and four individual first-place finishes. Then, at the Saint Viator Invitational, they placed fourth out of the eight teams finishing with a first place finish in the 100-meter freestyle. Furthermore, the team placed second at a meet in Wheeling. They even took first place at the IMSA invite.

Contributing to the success, Coach Wilcher remarks, is the few but effective senior leaders.

“He is awesome at keeping them in line.” said Coach Wilcher This is important because swimming is a demanding sport: the team practices five days a week. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they go to the weight room after practice, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they have two and a half hours of practice solely in the water. Also, the large amount of juniors and sophomores help to keep the team working together, which will be beneficial when they take over next year. Marcus Lannie, a sophomore on the team, attributes the success to their effort and motivation in practice.

Leading the team is junior Michael Balcerak, who has been breaking quite a few records. He set a pool record and school record in the 200-meter individual medley, which is where the swimmer swims four different strokes: the breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly stroke and freestyle, which Balcerak got a time of 1:56.71 in. Balcerak also set a record in the 100-meter butterfly, where his time was 51.20. He then broke that 100-meter Butterfly time for a new school record. And most recently, he broke the 200-meter freestyle record at the Buffalo Grove pool at a time of 1:41.35. Although the regular season is coming to an end, sectionals are approaching fast, where hopefully Balcerak can make it to state again as he did last year.

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Just keep swimming