Will Hayon got most of the headlines last season, and deservedly so.
But there’s more to the Sheboygan North swim team than the standout sophomore.
“Will’s a really good swimmer, for sure,” Golden Raider Patrick Fisher said. “And he’s a major component of our team. … Having one really awesome person on a team is great, but one person doesn’t make the team.”
As a freshman last year, Hayon became just the third boy from North – and first since 1967 – to win an event at the state meet when he claimed the 50-yard freestyle in a school-record time of 20.76 seconds. He also finished fifth at state in the 100 butterfly in 49.37 to erase another school record of his.
Hayon is the reigning conference champion in the 50 free thanks to a 20.96 that set a Fox River Classic Conference and North pool record, and he helped the 200 medley relay also set a conference mark.
He was the league runner-up in the 100 fly as well thanks to a pool-record 50.84.
And his number of school records stands at seven.
Despite all the glory, North coach Deylin Steinbruecker says the rest of the team does not feel left out or unappreciated because they know what he can do in the pool.
“I haven’t seen any jealousy or anything like that,” he said. “They’re really good about it. No one is like ‘Oh, Will’s doing all the work, so we don’t have to.’ They seem him excelling and that just motivates the rest of the team to do their best, too.”
That includes Jackson Pond, who says it is a really interesting dynamic.
“Will is super good,” he said. “He leaves our team and misses meets to go to his own national meets, he gets his own lane in the pool – he swims by himself and has his own workout – and a lot of people from the outside look in and say ‘man, that must suck to be on a team with him. It doesn’t seem very fun.’
“But everybody really likes Will. He’s a really good guy. And everyone knows that he does work really hard. He works harder than everybody else on the team, that’s how he’s so fast. He’s always, always so willing; we do something called peer coaching where a couple swimmers help coach everybody else. And Will is everybody’s favorite because he’s so knowledgeable and he’s so willing to help. He’s a team player.
“And everybody also knows he doesn’t have to swim with us. He could get a personal coach, he could swim on a really nice club team somewhere, but he swims with us because he likes us. And we like him. So nobody minds that he does his own stuff and gets a lot of the limelight, because he’s really cool about it. He doesn’t make a bigger deal out of himself than anybody else does.”
Several teammates are hoping to also have successful seasons again.
Junior Connor Cleveland finished third in the 100 free and fourth in the 200 individual medley at the conference championship, and he was on the first-place 200 medley relay.
“He’s pretty good with the 100 freestyle,” Steinbruecker said. “And he’s shaping up to be pretty good with the 200 IM. Hopefully he’ll go to state in the 100 free.”
Fisher, a senior, placed fourth at the FRCC in the 50 free and sixth in the 100 butterfly.
Pond, another senior, finished the 50 free in fifth and the 100 fly in seventh. Junior Joe Broghammer had a fifth-place showing in the 100 breaststroke as well.
Because of Bay Port’s talent – the team has won the last four Fox River Classic crowns – North’s coach thinks another second-place finish is likely for his team.
“To be able to compete with them is pretty good,” Steinbruecker said. “Hopefully we’ll give them a run for their money.”
A familiar face has returned to coach the Redwings.
Peter Toutenhoofd, a swimmer at South who graduated in 1997, is the coach again after running the varsity program from 2002-’10.
He took time off to raise his three children, but says a ‘large reason he’s back’ is because son Caden is a freshman on the team.
“I’m stoked,” Toutenhoofd said. “It’s funny, I’m just getting back to the real world of how much work it is to be a head coach. I’m excited. It’s all about building traditions, about building a culture.”
The coach says he wants to bring back some of the traditions he instilled in his first coaching stint and the team had when he swam for it. He is also looking to reestablish practice etiquette and making sure his team is doing things right on a daily basis.
“Really, it’s about constant improvement,” Toutenhoofd said. “We have to continue to work to improve every meet. And that’s all I’m asking for this year, and we’ll see what kind of team we’re going to turn into.”
However, only five swimmers return from last season.
“It’s really about coaching people who have never swam before, how to do this sport, and that’s what I’m working on,” Toutenhoofd said.
SOUTH AT A GLANCE
Last year: 7th in the FRCC
- Peter Toutenhoofd, who coached the team from 2002-’10, is in charge of the program again.
- Fourteen of the 19 swimmers in the program are new, however.
- There are five seniors, including three with experience.
GLAD TO BE BACK
Josh Hittman: The senior helped the 200 medley relay finish ninth at the FRCC meet last year.
Joel Lundy: The sophomore was also on the 200 medley relay last season.
Sam Scharenbroch: This senior led his squad in the 200 and 500 freestyles a year ago.
TOUGH TO REPLACE
Brock Kovacic: He finished eighth at state diving and set the school’s pool record last year when he won the conference title with 425.90 points.
Anibal Garza: He was the top individual swimmer from South at the conference meet, as he placed 10th in the 100 butterfly.
NORTH AT A GLANCE
Last year: 2nd in FRCC
- The team was was second to Bay Port, which has won the last four FRCC titles.
- Five swimmers are back who finished seventh or better in nine individual events at conference.
GLAD TO BE BACK
Will Hayon: The sophomore is the reigning state and conference champion in the 50-yard freestyle, and he finished fifth at state (second at conference) in the 100 butterfly. Hayon also helped the 200 medley relay take first in the league and he owns seven school records.
Connor Cleveland: The junior was third in the 100 free and fourth in the 200 individual medley at conference, and was on the winning 200 medley relay.
TOUGH TO REPLACE
Charles Broghammer: He placed second in the 100 breaststroke at conference a year ago.
Andrew Leal: He was third in the 100 butterfly and sixth in the 200 free at the FRCC meet.
Congratulations on your grandson’s accomplishments! My granddaughter, age 9, also enjoys and is doing very well in competitive swimming but is still too young to be on a school team.