Being a part of a high school athletic team is about more than winning. The camaraderie of a team, the memories of a game, all are part of an experience that thousands of athletes get every day. For one athlete, these things were unattainable unless he made it happen.
Mike Skibniewski is a swimmer from Monroe High School, but if you look at the athletics page on the high school’s website, you would never know it. Monroe does not currently have a boys swim team, but Skibniewski made it his mission to do something about it.
“I swim on a club team, and all of my friends on the team talk about how great high school swimming is,” Skibniewski said. “I felt I was missing out so I talked to my athletic director and he said I can swim.”
The situation is unusual for high school athletics. Skibniewski does not compete in head-to-head meets like other teams, but when he does compete in meets like the GMC championships he competes well.
Skibniewski comes into his senior season with high hopes, and they are well deserved. Last season, he won the 50-meter free at the GMC meet, broke the GMC meet record in the 100-meter butterfly and placed fourth in the 100-meter butterfly at the Meet of Champions.
For this season, Skibniewski looks to build on his past successes in order to have an even better senior campaign.
“For GMCs, I still want to win the 100 fly and better my record,” Skibniewski said. “The ultimate goal is to win the 100 fly at states.”
Earlier this year, Skibniewski committed to Penn State, and he will look to make an immediate impact upon his arrival next fall.
“It would be great if I made the NCAAs my freshman year,” Skibniewski said. “it’s one of my biggest goals for swimming at the collegiate level.”
The commitment also makes it easier for Skibniewski to focus on his senior season, noting that the college search is a long and arduous process.
“It lifts a big weight off my shoulders because I’m done with the college search,” he said, “I found a program that I see as very good for me and my swimming ability.”
Being without a high school team, Skibniewski becoming a Division 1 commit makes it all worth it. While he has great success in the water, the meets he competes in can be awkward at times.
“Going to GMCs and states is pretty weird because I don’t have a team, so I don’t have anyone to sit with,” said Skibniewski, “Really I just do my own thing, but last year I went to GMCs and nobody knew who I was.”
People will know who Skibniewski is this year as he looks to improve upon an incredible junior season.