The Shawano Stingrays Swim Club is a club for children to join to be able to start swimming competitively. The club lets children in from young ages to the high school level.
Freshman Gabi Bukoski joined swim club six years ago because she started to like the sport when she was young. Bukoski has since gained many experiences from the time she joined.
“When I was little I loved to swim, so my mom encouraged me to join,” Bukoski explained. “Now every meet, I’m able to meet and race against other people. I also get to spend time with my team.”
The swimmers that are in the club love to swim, but they are also able to qualify for bigger and better things.
Freshman Josh Bergmann said, “One of my best memories was being able to qualify and go to state when I was only twelve years old.”
However, Bokoski’s favorite memory is “pushing one of our swim club coaches into the water after a meet.”
Swimmers are able to practice at Shawano High School’s pool. All ages are able to swim together and are able to help each other.
Coach Liz Reed, who has been a coach for four years, explained, “Practices start with the kids starting with the same warm-up every time. When they are done with their warm-ups they break up into their lanes. Lanes one, two and three are for the more advanced swimmers. Four and five for the swimmers that are still learning. Then, lane six is for the newest swimmers, or we call them try-its.”
Towards the end, the swimmers have team building through games and relays because it helps them all work together. The Swim Club helps create bonds with all of the swimmers
Some advice freshman Jack Reed offered is, “Don’t mess around at practice.”
However, meets for Swim Club are different than high school swim meets.
Bergmann explained, “During club meets, you get a lot of time in between because they are a lot longer. There are also many people in each event.”
Some of the swimmers have rituals and traditions that they do before each of the meets.
Bergmann said, “I look at the heat sheet only when it’s like couple seconds before, so I don’t worry about it.”
The swimmers have some of their goals set for what they want to break during swim.
Bukoski explained, “I want to break a thirty on my fifty free, and I want to get under six minutes in my 500 free.”
All of the swimmers love being able to swim and love to be in the sport. They also like to give advice to some of the other swimmers.
Bukoski explained, “Don’t sink, and always try your hardest in practices. It’s a lot of fun, but you have to work hard.”
Some of the coaches also have advice for some of the swimmers now that are in Swim Club.
Coach Reed said, “Be committed and try your best. Always swim one second faster.”
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