Kelly Kolotka said the 2013 Morris girls swimming and diving co-op team is perhaps the largest the Redskins has had in her four years in the program.
Not only is the team rich in members, Kolotka said many of the newcomers have come with swimming experience.
“Usually in the past we’ve had them, this is their first time swimming, they spend a lot of time learning the actual strokes, the fundamentals,” Kolotka said. “This year, we’ve had a lot of new people come in that have been either competitive swimming in the past or they’ve gone through competitive lessons, not just regular swim lessons, and they really know what they’re doing. So it’s working on speed, not so much fundamentals.”
Coach Andrew Porth still was determining his lineup for today’s opener as of last week, but in some events the Redskins have “several options.” Porth does expect Myckala Tobolsky to swim the 200 and 500 freestyle events, Morgan Abraham to compete in the 100 fly, Kolotka to appear in sprint events and possibly the 200 IM, Reilly Chytracek to enter the 100 back, distance events and possibly the 200 IM and Alex Schauer to resume her diving role.
“We have several swimmers that can swim both the freestyle sprints and the specialty events well,” Porth said. “We are also blessed with great leadership on this team. Our captains [Kolotka, Molly Fruland, Jadeah Spindler and Emily Walker] have a strong rapport with the team and that is always a great thing.”
Incorporating athletes from four schools into one team has been easier this year than in the past, Fruland said.
“I know Morris girls are getting here earlier and starting their sets earlier, so I’m seeing a lot more progress that way,” Fruland said. “Even our out-of-town girls have been showing up and putting all of their hearts into everything, and it’s really great to see.”
In addition to the slightly less than three weeks of official practice the Redskins had before the start of their season, they spent some time together at their annual summer camp.
“We just kind of go through and do sets just like we do in practice,” Spindler said. “It’s not only a very good time for the girls and the guys to get together and bond over the summer, but also to really get that practice and keep their skills up over the summer.”
Both Kolotka and Porth said they hope the team peaks late in the year and that personal bests are established at the sectional. Walker hopes their progress results in more dual success.
“I want the team to win more than once. That would be cool. Because it shows progress,” Walker said. “More importantly, for people to take, well, [what] I have taken from swimming – that’s to work hard and to have fun.”