The Bay Port girls swimming and diving team has a new home this season.
But the Pirates have the same Fox River Classic Conference championship aspirations.
Senior Taylor Kroenke is a key reason why Bay Port is hopeful it can win a fifth title in six years. The Pirates host the FRCC meet Oct. 31 at the Howard-Suamico School District’s new pool.
Kroenke has called three pools home during her high school career. She transferred to Bay Port from Shawano after her freshman year when her family moved.
After qualifying for the WIAA Division 1 state meet six times as a member of a relay, Kroenke is aiming to advance to state in an individual event this year.
Kroenke discusses swimming in a new pool, feeding calves and juice boxes in this week’s senior spotlight.
What about swimming do you enjoy the most over other sports you’ve tried?
I like that you can’t tell that you’re sweating. I like that a lot. But specifically with high school, I like how close you get with your teammates and how much togetherness there is.
What are your best events?
Probably the 50 and 100 freestyle. I really like doing the backstroke in the medley relay. That’s like my favorite event.
The Howard-Suamico School District’s new pool opened in June. What’s the best part about the facility?
I also work here, so I see everything that’s behind it. I have to clean up after (practice). I really like the viewing section. That’s really cool because we always had issues with people not being able to fit when we had a lot of people here. We can actually host conference this year, so that’s really cool.
What’s a rule change you would like the WIAA to make for swimming?
They did have a no piercings thing, but they changed that. That was a major thing because I have my nose pierced and that’s a hassle. Last year you couldn’t have any jewelry of any type. Now, you can have jewelry. That’s nice. Coach actually lied to us and told us that it hadn’t changed because she wanted us to take out our earrings still.
Do you have any prerace rituals?
I really have to be listening to music before my races. Other people tend to be talking before races. But I’m out on my own because I need to get focused about it. I always bring juice boxes to my meets because that’s all that I can really handle because I get nerves really bad.
Coach Meghan Wood said you’ve battled through a shoulder injury. What happened?
It dislocated and since then I’ve had issues with the repetitiveness of swimming so much. But it seemed to be a lot better this year after taking time off because it got pretty bad last year.
What’s something people might not know about you?
I like to do plays and musicals. I don’t typically do the school ones because it starts before swimming. I tend to do ones at little theaters or community theaters. I like the smaller roles because I’m shy. I was in the “Wizard of Oz” and I played a munchkin. I thought that was really fun.
Do you have a career interest you want to pursue?
I know I want to go into health care. … My mom and dad are in that field. I remember growing up my mom had her stethoscope and she would test it on us.
My dad farmed for a long time. We eventually sold it, so he went back to school for radiology. … It really made me admire him and how much work he put into his education. He’s pushed me so hard throughout my entire education. It made me see why he pushed me so hard.
Did you help out on the farm growing up?
I fed calves my whole childhood. It was not my favorite thing. Swimming actually got me out of those chores because it was like 4 o’clock every day we would feed the calves, but swimming was at 4, so I didn’t have to do it anymore. That was a perk of swimming.
What was your first impression of Bay Port when you transferred schools?
I shadowed at Bay Port before coming here, and (teammate Jourdan Melendy) was who I shadowed. I never met her before. We didn’t say a word to each other because we were both just waiting for the other person to talk. When I finally did come here, we kind of hated each other because we both thought we were mean. But we ended up being really close. She’s really fun.
Which of your teammates is the loudest?
Maggie Murphy. She’s very outgoing.
Who on the team could survive on a deserted island?
Elise Keller. She’s very level-headed. She seems to have everything together.
Who is the messiest person on the team?
Probably me. My locker is pretty messy. I am so disorganized that I have not even brought all my stuff to the pool yet. I’m kind of carrying it back and forth to my car. I have like all my clothes in the car. I kind of avoid driving people around because when they get in it’s like, ‘OK, just let me move everything to the backseat.’
Movie: “Harry Potter.”
Athlete: Brett Favre.
“She has a funny personality and likes to goof around, but she likes to get to know you as a coach and as a person first. … She’s just become a lot more confident in her abilities. She’s a little bit limited about what events she can swim because of some injuries, but she has shown more confidence coming through that she knows she is a really talented swimmer.”
— Bay Port girls swimming coach Meghan Wood
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @andrewpekarek.