Girls’ Swim aims to achieve individual goals


Naomi Skiles

Swimming To Success: Flying to the finish line, junior Mia Kriltchev, girls varsity swimmer aims for victory at the South swim meet against Fremd. South beat Fremd with a final score of 95-93 on the varsity level.

Dani Car, asst. sports editor

The thunderous roar of splashing water echoes throughout the South pool, deafening the ears of eager onlookers. Cheering crowds stand up and shout with triumph as senior Caroline DiCesare pulls ahead, every stroke leading the team closer to victory.

As the first three meets of the South swim season have passed by, the team has brought home one first-place victory on the varsity level, igniting a path to victory at sectionals and a spot at state. Even with various changes to the swim staff, including a new head coach and junior varsity two coach, who coaches a lower level of junior varsity, the victorious start has Head Coach Kimberly Kiraly optimistic for another successful season. According to Kiraly, this success is not only measured by a ratio of wins to losses but is instead measured by the success of athletes meeting their goals and working through their challenges.

“My main goal is to ensure that [in] all of our levels we are working with athletes to make sure that they are setting goals, and that we’re doing our job to make sure that our athletes are meeting their goals,” Kiraly explained.

With many influential changes to the team taking place this year, the focus during practices has shifted to individuals’ goals and working through personal challenges, while still maintaining a positive team atmosphere. According to junior Emsela Orucevic, one of these changes includes the coaches and athletes discussing difficulties and hardships that they wish to overcome throughout the season to keep an air of positivity even during hard practices. Kiraly explained that this change has been implemented to help swimmers of all abilities be successful at the level they’re at, while still allowing them to improve.

“One thing I’m really proud of is that we really do look at each athlete individually and make sure we can figure out how we can make them successful even through their challenges,” Kiraly said.

While these practices are intended to foster a positive mindset, Kiraly believes the main goal is to build the endurance necessary to be successful while competing.  This is achieved with practices focusing on distance, to allow players to do their best at each meet, even when they’re in pain from an exhausting practice. Justin Jornd, junior varsity coach, explained that this type of practice is formatted depending on how the swimmers are doing each day.

“If they’re a little tired or sluggish one day we’ll slow things down, if we don’t have the focus we’ll take time, reset, and reorient ourselves for the next set,” Jornd said.

This allows swimmers to go at a pace suited to what is best for each day, according to Jornd. Senior Alexis Kachkin believes that these practices have been the key to success at meets, as they allow the team to maintain a positive mindset while building speed for the rest of the season. Kiraly explained that senior leaders like Kachkin and Caroline DiCesare lead the way for other team members by creating a supportive environment and choosing to create difficult practices to push the athletes mental and physical abilities. Kachkin witnessed this support at a recent meet.

“Everyone was standing up cheering for everyone on the team and it was honestly so amazing to see everyone supporting each other,” Kachkin said.

While the team took a major hit as seniors left for college in the previous year, Orucevic believes that this season could be the best yet, as incoming players have replaced old talent with a surplus of speed. According to Kachkin, the way to keep improving is to swim every meet like it’s your last, and to put all of the thousands of hours of work from hundreds of practices into every race.

“I want everyone to be positive and [treat] every meet as our last to swim to the best of our abilities,” Kachkin said.