Swim team juniors step up to leadership role, work to deliver for season

Brook Wang-swiontek, Staff Reporter

In any sport, leadership roles tend to fall to those with the most seniority. In high school sports, seniority tends to fall on the side of seniors. However, that is not the case for the Lake Park boys swimming team.

In the past two years, many experienced and skilled swimmers have graduated and left the Lancer swim team. For this  season, the team currently has zero seniors on their roster. It was a team desperately needing a leader heading into the new year.

Luckily, it seems juniors including Anthony Slade, Ben Kimmel, and Norbert Szczotka have willingly filled and are excelling in these roles.

“This year, the juniors have to act as mentors towards the underclassmen and show them the ropes, whereas in previous years, the seniors had that responsibility,” said Anthony Slade, describing the increased responsibility on the shoulders of his class. “It is now our job to try to encourage team bonding and create a sense of unity.”

Even with the increased pressure on these swimmers through leadership roles, there is no less pressure to deliver results for the Lancers. The expectation is for many of these juniors to step up to the increased pressure and responsibility. After years of acting as underclassmen, it is time for them to stand out and deliver on their potential and promise.

“We have a bunch of really talented swimmers all across the board, but we hope that our junior class can show up at sectionals and and state,” said state qualifier Ben Kimmel.

Although the expectations are starting to set in, many on the team insist the true measure of this team is its progress. They hope that all the hard work they put in everyday will show dividends as the season wears on. The culture and relationship between upper and underclassmen will no doubt play a role in how far this team can evolve and progress.

Slade persists with this mentality, setting his goals and expectations for what is a hopeful Lancer swim season. He recognizes the work the team and the individuals have put in to help this team be successful and he can’t wait to see future success.

“It’s really important that the team focuses on hard work and improvement,” he said. “As a young team, it’s easy to get discouraged by a lot of the other high schools with large senior classes, but if we can put in work this season, by the end of it, and by next year, it will definitely pay off.”