Say two-a-days, and most people think football practice.
It’s actually what Sheboygan North’s swim team is doing to help keep COVID-19 issues at bay.
Ten experienced upperclassmen are in the pool from 4-6 p.m.
When they leave, the coaching staff cleans and wipes down what it can, and then 10 more swimmers practice until 7:30.
“I’m here quite a bit now,” coach Deylin Steinbruecker said. “Normally I prefer to have everyone together so we’re more of a team. I’m not a fan of the two practices because the kids don’t get that same camaraderie that we normally do.”
There are far fewer meets than usual as well after the WIAA shortened the season by three weeks and the school district then delayed the start by four more weeks.
As of last week, North only had three duals on its schedule – the first one was set for Jan. 12 – and the conference championship is already less than a month away.
“We have a really tight window to prep for our races we want to be swimming in at the championship meets,” Steinbruecker said. “Normally we have the whole season and we can get some of the new kids a little bit more rounded out.”
North returns three key athletes from the squad that placed second in the league last season and 13th at state.
Junior Will Hayon already holds six school records to go with two pool, two conference and two sectional marks. He finished third at state in the 50-yard free – he won it as a freshman to become the first boy at the school since 1967 to win a swim title – by lowering his school-record time to 20.69 seconds. Hayon also took third in the 100 free last year – he was fifth in 2019 – in 46.20 to break another record of his.
Seniors Connor Cleveland and Joe Broghammer, and sophomore Dylan Dettloff, are back as well.
Cleveland was with Hayon on two relays at state that set school records (400 free relay, 200 free relay) and he also took 20th in the 100 free (at conference, he was runner-up and placed third in the 200 individual medley).
Broghammer was on the two state relays and he took fourth in the 100 breaststroke and seventh in the 100 free at conference.
Dettloff swam on one relay at state, and at conference he finished fifth in the 500 free and eighth in the 200.
So can the Golden Raiders improve from its showing at state last season?
“First off, I hope we can at least have a state meet,” Steinbruecker said. “As long as we have an opportunity to swim at that meet, I’ll be happy.”
Jed Walleser, a senior who finished 10th in the 100 backstroke at conference, returns.
But foreign exchange student Krystof Linhart, who won a conference crown in the 500 free with a school-record time of 4:57.53 and was second in the 200, is no longer on the squad.
Peter Toutenhoofd says his team is very young, highlighted by a strong sophomore class that helped the Redwings to a sixth-place showing in the conference.
As a result, the coach is hoping each swimmer can compete in every event at some point.
“There’s a lot of guys that didn’t swim a whole lot of variety last year,” he said. “And so if we’re going to build a team of the future that we’re hoping for, we really need to see all of our guys interchangeable so we can swim them in different events and to see what they’re going to be strongest at to help us as the years go on.”
Other than that, Toutenhoofd says he has not established team goals and was hoping to after the Christmas break.
“That’s kind of what we’re looking forward to,” he said. “I know it’s not flashy or shiny, but it’s who we are right now and it’s all about getting better.”