From sun and sandals to snow and boots, weather is one of the changes girls swim teams have to deal with now that their season is finally underway.
“They’re used to August and September, coming (to practice) in a swimsuit or shorts and a t-shirt, or leaving with just their swimsuit on and a towel wrapped around them,” North coach Chad Prisinger said. “Now, they walk out and hair freezes up. We can use locker rooms, but we’re limited to even that. They want the girls to come and if they can, don’t change. Come prepared, dry off and leave. It’s been different for them.
“For myself, meh, whatever. I work outside all the time anyway, so it’s no big deal.”
Sixty-three percent of schools swam as normal this past fall, and 37% decided to delay the season – which started two weeks ago and is called alternative fall.
Several schools are said to have fewer girls as a result of the switch, including North. The alternative season is also shorter, going from 13 weeks to eight.
“It stinks for the girls, especially seniors, that we don’t have any relay meets or traditional invites this year,” Prisinger said. “It’s pretty much just a straight dual season. As of right now, knock on wood, we still have conference, sectionals and state. On the flip side, I’m just happy we have a season though and it didn’t just get cancelled in the fall. … We’re making it work.”
However, it did not work for Todd Priebe.
He had to give up his coaching duties at South because someone at his job got COVID-19 in the summer and Priebe had to pick up the hours.
He says if the Redwings swam in the fall, he “maybe could’ve swung it.”
“I enjoyed coaching tremendously, and I miss it,” Priebe said. “It was a very, very difficult decision for me.”
Enter new coach Lillian Stenz, a 2016 South graduate.
“The one very nice thing is unlike a lot of the other fall sports, we are entirely an indoor team,” she said. “So we don’t really have as many concerns with fieldhouse space, and snow, and things like that.”
Stenz graduated from Wisconsin in May and moved back home. She was hired by Priebe to be his assistant, but will make her debut as head coach today at Ashwaubenon.
“We’re all very just grateful to have a season,” Stenz said. “That’s something, I think a lot of us when fall sports were cancelled, we weren’t sure if we’d even get a season.
“I think we are a growing team and I’m really looking forward to where we’re going this season and where we’re going over the next few years.”
SWIMMERS TO WATCH
Gigi Gotzmer: At the 2019 Fox River Classic Championship, the senior placed third in the 100 butterfly and sixth in the 200 individual medley.
Julia Renzelmann: The sophomore took fourth in both the 100 and 200 freestyles.
Katie Spence: This sophomore also finished fourth – in the 500 free – and was sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
Libby Cleveland: Another sophomore, she ended eighth in the 200 individual medley and ninth in the 100 back.
Annika Glavan: The senior is also on the gymnastics team and has been practicing for both sports.
Jessica Hittman: The junior, like Glavan, brings experience to the Redwings roster.