If a swimming team has strong divers, it is most likely going to be one of the best teams in a conference.
Because most teams don’t have a lot of divers, it’s easy for the teams that do because it gives them easy points in matches.
Last season the Fond du Lac girls swim team finished 3-5 in dual matches and placed seventh in the Fox Valley Association conference meet, but head coach Glen McBride said this year will be different because he believes he has a more well-rounded team, including more divers.
“Our diving is much improved because we have a new diving coach in Jacob Chadderdon,” McBride said of the UW-Oshkosh graduate, who was an all-american diver. “He shows some good ideas and is working hard with the girls. We are very lucky to have him.”
McBride said his team has three or four girls diving this season and that most teams get about five divers on average.
“I think our girls will perform well this year,” said McBride, who returns for his 14th season as the girls’ coach. “It’s a positive thing once you get divers. You look at Neenah — diving puts them over the top every year and they are the best team in the conference.”
Not only have the Cardinals gained a few divers, but return its lone swimmer who earned all-FVA honors a year ago in junior Courtney Stubbe.
McBride said Stubbe is one of the fastest swimmers he has ever seen come through the program and hopes that she will help the Cardinals to a top three or four finish in the conference.
“She was our team MVP last year and she is probably the second-fastest girl in the program’s history,” McBride said. “She is looking better than ever and one of her goals is to get a school record.”
The Cardinals lost only four seniors from a season ago, including Brianna Hartwig, who was the team’s best distance swimmer. McBride said Kalli Behling, a freshman, is looking good so far and looks to replace her spot.
“She has swam in Fond du Lac swim club the last couple summers and I can’t tell you what her best strengths are because she’s really well-rounded,” McBride said.
McBride said it’s very typical for freshmen to come in and provide a big help for a program, so he’s hoping more will join Behling as a top swimmer this season. The Cardinals have seven freshmen on the roster.
“So many hotshot freshmen come and swim state times in the first meet,” McBride said. “It’s almost common when you talk about swimmers. Newcomers Behling, Taryn Jaroch, Kaitlyn Munger and Maddy Corbin will contribute to varsity immediately.”
The team returns six seniors this season and looks to be led by McKayla Drew, (freestyle, butterfly), Jensen Bloedorn (sprints, breaststroke) and Lindsey McDermott (diver). The three other seniors are Sommer Huhn, Krystin Kohnke and Rebecca McClanahan.
McBride said the team has improved on sprints, strokes, butterfly and breastroke this season, but may have taken a dip in distance events. Still, it has potential with the freshmen class.
Neenah, Appleton North and Oshkosh West are predicted to finish as the top three teams in the FVA.