Katfish swim towards the post-season

Rhea Nguyen and Fielou Van Bruggen

The 2022-2023 Katfish swim season is coming to an end, after a year filled with many successes and emotions. The team challenged themselves, set new records and aimed to achieve their goals. 

The team has seen some changes, as former assistant coach Zach Whiteman stepped in and assumed the role of head coach. 

“I’m on the learning curve. I’ve been an assistant the past couple of years and took over this year,” Whiteman said. “It’s been a challenge learning some of the daily jobs that are different from being an assistant to a head coach. But it’s been fun.”

This season was all about rebuilding the team and concreting on their goals.

“A lot of the goals that I’ve had this year, being that it was my first season, were just rebuilding what the program used to be in terms of creating a family, making sure athletes are here and that they want to be here and that they are not dreading to go to practice everyday,” the coach said. “I want them to buy into the program and know what it means to be a Kat swimmer.”

The Katfish swimmers also set their own goals and records coming into this season. 

“My goal for this season was to either meet or pass my record time that I had last year. So swim faster than I did last year or at least the same,” said senior Paige Wilson. “I have been swimming at least the same and I also set a new personal record in the 50 recently.”

Sophomore Aubrey Simmons wanted to be faster than she was last year. 

“My goal was to come back faster. So far I have been faster. Another goal was that I wanted to break the NCC record that I broke as a freshman and I came back and broke it by over a second,” she said.

But the swimmers also faced many challenges throughout the seasons. A senior Katfish, Gabe Booher said, “Just getting in the water. We’ve had some pretty hard practices, and just getting through those was tough.” 

Whiteman also shared some of his challenges regarding the team lineups and numbers. 

“Just filling out the lineup, making sure we have enough swimmers. Our numbers are kind of low this season, so just making sure we put the right people in the right places so we can compete. Making sure that we continue to progress.”

The 2022-2023 swim season was also filled with many incredible memories as friendships were formed, and each swimmer was able to learn and grow both physically and mentally. 

“My favorite memory was on the bus ride home from the Manchester meet. We won and everyone was just screaming the songs that we had and Gabe (Booher) was holding a speaker in the middle of the bus while we were driving and he was flying around everywhere,” Wilson said. “Everyone was just super excited that we won.” 

For Simmons,  one of the best parts of the season came early on. 

“I think it was one of the very first swim practices. We played a game to get to know more about our teammates and I thought it was interesting since we have some new freshmen and we have international students that came in, and I didn’t really know anybody because there were just so many.” she said. 

Coach Whiteman described the season with one word: “rollercoaster.”

The Lady Katfish compete in the IHSAA sectional finals tomorrow, while the Katfish swim in the IHSAA sectional on Thursday, Feb. 16.