With the winter sports season underway, the PHS girls swim team looks to once again establish a culture that has made it a frontrunner in Mercer County for the past several years.
The team is well aware that the work put in during the preseason will pay off in February during county and state tournament play. Just ask Co-Captain Nicole Saengtawesin ’18, who can be found in the pool with her 30 other teammates during Saturday practices that begin at 6 am.
“It can be hard for people to get up and get into a pool on a cold winter day,” said Saengtawesin. “But in the end, the results from those morning practices will definitely be worth it.”
This is just one example of the hardworking mindset that Head Coach Carly Misiewicz has keyed in on to start the season. With a plethora of new swimmers replacing the nine seniors who graduated from last year’s team, Misiewicz goal early on is to make sure everyone is on the same page.
“In the beginning of the season, we all need to understand that everyone is here for the same reason and shares the same goals,” Misiewicz said. “So early on it’s really important that we establish those goals and ground rules.”
Saengtawesin echoed her coach’s sentiments and explained some of her expectations.
“I think one of the biggest ground rules we need to set is coming to practice on time and everyday,” Saengtawesin said. “Swim team is a commitment, and people need to show up to practice every single day, every single time.”
Misiewicz is adamant about creating this level of team discipline in order to foster a work ethic leading up to the team’s first meet on November 27 against rival Notre Dame High School. Furthermore, Misiewicz understands that working hard to improve is a lot easier when team chemistry is strong.
“Swimming as a team and making sure everyone knows everyone is the most important part,” Misieiwicz said. “Then we can start off with the technique and the yardage as we progress through the season.”
Co-Captain Emily Curran ’18 understands the long-term importance of a team dynamic.
“If we have good team chemistry, we’re going to be more excited about working hard and doing well,” Curran said. “If we build those relationships and bonds early on, we are going to be more successful.”
After three weeks of practice, the team’s opening meet will be a test of the work put in outside and inside the pool during the preseason. Last year’s Notre Dame team was the Times of Trenton’s girls swimming Team of the Year and finished with a record of 13-2.
“Notre Dame is probably going to be the hardest meet of the entire season,” said Curran. “So I expect a very tough meet. But I also expect our team to step up to the plate. If we can keep it close and create that team spirit, I think we’ll have a chance to knock it out during the final relays.”
Over the course of the season, the team plans to gain momentum and make some noise in the MCT and state tournaments. For Misiewicz, all of the work put in during the preseason will hopefully come to fruition.
“The biggest thing that I look for is that change in mentality, when we start to really focus on improving the small details” Misiewicz said. “The starts, the turns- all of the small details and the yardage put in will be the difference for us come postseason.”