The Kutztown Dolphins swim team is off to a good start according to Melissa Nolte, president of the swim team organization. She notes that with the minimum amount of time that the team actually had to practice in an outside swimming pool, the team is doing well.
The Dolphins have a lot of returning silver/county swimmers, plus many new swimmers who joined this year.
The team will feature two new coaches (Steve Fowler and Trevor Kanaskie), as well as the returning head coach (Gwen Dietrich)s.
“The first two weeks of swim team practice are always the most important for the new swimmers,” said Dietrich. “We need to evaluate them and see if they can swim their yardage for their age brackets. Losing some of these swim practices were hard, but with our excellent coaching staff, they were able to put the team together.”
The expectations for the Kutztown swim team are very high according to Dietrich. The goal of the coaches is for these summer swimmers to master the art of swimming,and also to have a lot of fun. This is summer swim where many families go on vacations and many swimmers go to other various camps and activities so it is hard to have a complete team for a Monday night Swim Meet. Seventy-seven swimmers can participate at all the meets, invitational, and championship meets. Almost 44% are new swimmers and almost all are under the age of 12.
The team hopes to finish in 10th place or higher this year at counties, and eighth place or higher at the Silver Championship Meet, out of the 23 returning Berks County Swim Teams. Furthermore, the Dolphins would like to send at least 35 swimmers to BCSA County Meet and at least 30 swimmers to the Silver Championship Meet.
“Our last expectation is to win more meets than we won last year,” said Dietrich. “Last year, with only having 50 plus swimmers, and so few boys, we lost events due to having a lack of swimmers. This year with the higher number of swimmers, we’re expecting to win more events during a swim meet.
“We hope to meet our expectations, plus achieve some new ones through the course of the summer,” said Nolte. “With the help of our two new coaches and our returning head coach, and our returning 19 county swimmers, we feel that we can achieve these expectations.”
Sometimes it’s hard to know how a team will do with so many younger and inexperienced swimmers. But the Dolphin coaches believe their youth is a strength of this team.
“Many do not know it yet or believe in themselves, but we know we have some excellent new swimmers in our swim family,” said Nolte.
The seasoned swimmers and new swimmers will make this team a very strong one, and possibly a contender in the Pacific Division within the Berks County Swimming Association (BCSA).
While every team has strengths, they also have weaknesses.Dietrich has very few 13 and older swimmers, especially boys.
“Over half of our team consists of new swimmers, and most of them are in the eight-and-under class, with only six returning eight-and-under swimmers,” said Dietrich. “We don’t have a lot of boys in the 9/10 and 11/12 age brackets.
“With that said, we still can be a contender within the Pacific Division,and win more meets than last year. With all these new swimmers, some of them could turn out to be awesome county swimmers which we don’t know about yet until they get more swim practices and swim meets under their belt.
“With the coaching staff that we have, these young swimmers will grow into very good seasoned swimmers. A concern for us is within the 9/10 and 11/12 age brackets for boys. We’re not able to put together medley and free relay teams.”
The Dolphins have a very strong 9/10 and 11/12 girls’ age bracket returning this year. Among the returning county swimmers from those age brackets are Emma Rhode (swam eight and under last year), Abigail Reasoner, Paige McKenna, Greta Feiertag, Annika Gally, Michaela Hersh, Samantha Ide, and Mya Keim.
The 9/10 girls won the 200 SC meter free relay last year at counties and came in second by only 0.10 seconds for the girls 9/10 200 SC meter medley relay. Most of those girls move up to the 11/12 age bracket which will be a contender again this year at counties.
Other county swimmers that returned to the team are Krystal Nolte, Rebecca Rabenold, Julianne Dupree, Makenzie Barrell, Nikolette Nolte, Zoe Keim, Karlie Heistand, Mitchell Brett, Ryujin Jensen, Kian Kanaskie and Christian Kanaskie. Any one of these seasoned swimmers could place in the top eight at counties according to Dietrich.
“We have some returning silver swimmers this year that are intending to qualify for counties this year,” said Dietrich. Those swimmers are Madison Goodwin, Emerson Erb, Sarah Randall, Caroline Brown, Jarrett Noecker, William Randall, Joseph Chukoskie, Cole Chukoskie, Kaydence Wessner, Anya Tackack, Raegan Loeb, Elissa Kunkel, Devon Becker, Emma Reichart, Samantha Ide, Devan Hanna, Rachel Rabenold, Erin Randall, Jaime Wert, Amy Yoder, Jordan Noecker, Gavin Miller, Rebecca Rabenold, Bekah Keim and Colin Reasoner.
Dietrich does have some young swimmers who are looking to “After the first couple of practices in the water, we may have some new young swimmers that will make a strong mark on this swim league as well,” said Dietrich.