Swim team thrives in face of pre-season challenges

The Lewis & Clark Swim Team is suiting up to dive into a new season despite preseason delays due to the Zehntbauer Swimming Pavillion’s repairs. Team Captains Micah Rysavy ’25 and Kate Milne ’24 shared the effects such repairs had on the team’s preparation.

“It put us off two weeks and we usually have two weeks of captains practice, so we’ve actually lost three or four weeks of swimming. That was pretty frustrating,” Rysavy said, “Then the coach had to come up with a new practice schedule for the weeks we didn’t have and we were promised it would definitely be open by the ninth.”

According to Rysavy, that promise was not fulfilled, as the pavilion was not open until Sept. 15. These repairs were a setback that proved difficult for the team. Rysavy pointed out that they did not have an ideal way to train since swimming inherently involves breath retention and the feel of the water.

As Milne corroborates, the team had to train on dry land, participate in outdoor workouts and weightlift in order to make up for the then-defunct pool.

“Our new coach Caitlin has been giving us really good workouts and people have been working hard so I don’t think it set us back too much,” Milne said.

Rysavy commented on the importance of swimming both as a way to stay active and find joy.

“We definitely have a welcoming culture for everyone that wants to swim. I feel like Caitlin and others all care about making sure that everyone is having fun in the pool,” Rysavy said.

This culture is not only a product of the coaches’ dedication to the sport, but also the team and their effort to bring that to the water each day.

“It is definitely accepting people, but also pushing ourselves as hard as we can and Caitlin knows that we can. There is definitely room for whatever swimmer we wish to be,” Rysavy said.

Similarly, Milne sees the team culture as a critical facet of swimming. “It’s a pretty closely-knit team, we’ve been doing some events as a whole team this year … and we also have practice together so I think that’s a unique aspect of our sport,”

Milne said.

Rysavy spoke more on new Head

Coach Caitlin Denise who recently replaced Murilo Martins.

“Murilo was the old coach and he texted us that he was going to quit this summer, relatively late on into the summer, and Caitlin was already an assistant. He told us that ‘it really matters that we hear your input and we are going to weigh that input,’” Rysavy said.

Rysavy expands on the role of swim team members in adding perspective during Denise’s promotion.

“We put in a pretty good word for Caitlin and he had some good reasons. We ended up meeting up with (Athletic Director Mark Pietrok) twice over the course of the process just to say what we are looking for with a coach, what we have enjoyed with the coach before and say what we liked and appreciated with Caitlin,” Rysavy said, “It seemed like he cared about what we had to think and he said he cared about what we think.”

Milne reflects on this process as well, stating that the team captains all wrote a letter of recommendation endorsing Coach Denise due to her previous experience serving as assistant coach and thus, her knowledge of the team and how it operates.

Although the team did not make the final call, students were glad that it worked out this way.

“She seems like she has a very good organized structure and that has been true this year for her practices and her overall season,” Rysavy said. “I had a feeling that if she was in the head coaching position she really would put that into a full cohesive season and already that is working out well. She is a really likable person and everyone on the team really liked her presence as a coach. She does a really good job with the atmosphere we want to cultivate and her practices are great. They make me faster.”

Working with new people sometimes necessitates some adjustment, but according to Rysavy, along with the helping hands of Assistant Coach J.P. Greener and Former Head Coach Chris Fantz, Coach Denise has excelled in organizing the sport thus far.

Both Rysavy and Milne made it abundantly clear that goals for the season include breaking a whole bunch of records.

View grueling practices pay off and show your support at the six upcoming home meets in the Zehntbauer Swimming Pavilion starting Oct. 27 and follow their Instagram @ lcpiosswim. “If people want to watch some fast swims, come to meets,” Rysavy said.

The Zehntbauer Swimming Pavilion is tentatively open to LC students, faculty and alumni for free swim from 8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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