During the first year of merging the Windermere High School boys and girls swim teams, the Wolverines ended their regular season undefeated with a record of 6-0.
“The reason we’ve been so successful is because we made the boys and girls teams one instead of two separate teams,” head swim coach Kyle Goller said. “It’s always nice to be undefeated.”
Junior Addison Reese has been a part of the team since she was a freshman in high school. Last year, she was part of the 200 medley relay that brought home the first state championship ring.
“I’m very proud of how all of us have done this season so far,” she said. “I don’t think there’s anything much different. Last year was an amazing year (too). I’m really proud of everyone and what we’ve done.”
The team currently has 47 swimmers and features athletes who also swim at different clubs such as South Lake Aquatic Club and Southwest Aquatics. Part of the team’s efficiency comes as a result of Goller allowing his club swimmers to train at their club practices while he trains the swimmers who only swim for the high school team.
“That gives them the full focus and the fast attention for them to succeed,” he said. “I practice with about 10 kids (who) swim with me at practice in the mornings.”
Sophomore Ryan Erisman, 15, believes he contributed to the team’s success through his relay events.
“It’s pretty cool to be a part of such a talented program and group of kids,” he said. “I’m pretty excited to see how far we can go.”
Regarding chemistry and team culture, the Wolverines have created an atmosphere in which everyone feels heard and included.
“I believe the kids should be able to have a voice on what they do and say,” Goller said. “I swam at college. I swam at a very high level, and I think the reason why I was so successful was because my coaches always gave me a voice to be heard. I think if you want to see your team succeed … if you give them a voice and allow their opinion to be heard, I think that makes them more successful.”
The team competed at the districts meet Friday, Oct. 21, and was crowned district champion — this first of several goals for the season.
“I’m so excited; we had a lot of fun last year,” Reese said. “It wasn’t about our winning, but our group and our team have a lot of team spirit. … We’ve worked so hard this season, and I’m very excited to see where (this) takes us.”
Despite ending their regular season undefeated, the Wolverines encountered some arduous competition this year, as West Orange, Olympia and Dr. Phillips High School have excellent swimmers who made those meets more interesting.
The goal for the team is to win regionals in both girls and boys.
“We have good quality depth in a lot of events where we should be able to win on both sides,” Goller said.
All four girls — Brooke Larweth, Addison Reese, Maddie Reynolds and Peyton Powell — who won the state championship ring in the 200 medley relay are back and ready to return to states. They are anxious to break their previous time of 1:44.06 and possibly break the state record, 1:42.34.