Nicolet swimmers talented, but flood trims squad

Sept. 14, 2010

They cleaned out all the old furniture in Nicolet swim coach Dwight Davis' office ("It wasn't damaged, but it had seen better days," he laughed) but that just left room for the new stuff.

Further, on the first day of school this past Monday, he and his 34-member team were able to use their own pool for the first time since the July 22 flood forced them to take their gear and head to the Schroeder Aquatic Center.

"In short, I'm not like a club coach anymore, living out of the trunk of my car," laughed Davis on Monday, the first chaotic day of school, "but it is kind of crazy. It's like we're all moving into a new house together."

The practice on Monday night was the first normal thing the Knights have had to deal with since beginning training more than a month ago. They've had three duals already, all on the road and have won two of them, but they've been unable to do their normal dry land training regimen (to go along with the miles and miles they put in every week in the pool).

And then there are the numbers themselves.

"This (the flood) has definitely had an effect on us," Davis said. "This is the smallest team I've had since the 1980s. We have some high-quality kids, but not a lot of depth." Included are only five freshmen.

That depth got tested right away on Tuesday, with the North Shore Conference Relays.

Davis said the team was pretty adaptable to working in the foreign (or in the case of the club kids, not so foreign) surroundings of Schroeder and since school got off to a much later start, Davis was able to get a lot of conditioning work in with them.

"We've worked them pretty hard," he said.

And they have responded.

He will build around seven key performers, including sophomore All-American diver Calli Head. Seniors include Kinsey Dunst (butterfly and distance), Elizabeth Schoenfeldt (distance), Laura LeBrun (diving) and Taylor Winter (diving).

Junior Yvonne Hangsterfer will primarily swim the 200 free and 100 backstroke.

The Knights, amazingly, despite their handicaps, did beat West Bend East and Port Washington in duals to go along with a loss to Whitefish Bay.

Davis is immensely grateful to the people at Schroeder for accommodating them.

"Just a tremendous facility," he said.

But there is no place like home, especially as the Knights prepare to host their first meets of the year on Sept. 21 (Grafton) and Sept. 25 (the Nicolet Sprint Invitational).

"It's like trying to start a business back up without all the desks and computers," he said, "but we're getting there."

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