Barracudas swim team strives for success

With the swim season well underway, the returning and new swimmers of the Brookfield Barracudas watched their hard work pay off with great dividends at the first few meets of the season. Indeed, swimming anywhere between 5,000 to 10,000 yards a day (up to 5.7 miles or 400 laps), six days a week, the swimmers are finding this season a lot more challenging than any training done prior in their swimming careers.

The team has also undergone dramatic changes this year with the addition of new Head Coach Van
Donkersgoed “Coach Van” and Assistant Coach Colton Gilmore. Donkersgoed is known by most varsity members, since he is a coach on Elmbrook Swim Club, and his mission for the team is “believing in the power of our team, being adaptable, being committed to learning, and trusting ourselves, our team, and our coaches.”

The swimmers this year are really excited by the influence of their new coaches and hope to make great progress in their swimming abilities. “He puts a lot of faith in our team and pushes us really hard while still being positive and complimentary. Overall, I think he’s an amazing coach!” says first year swimmer Eli Hoffmann, a sophomore. However, making progress does not come without hard work and dedication, and this season is already extremely challenging in terms of workload.

One of the biggest changes Coach Van made was with regards to the practice schedule. Varsity level swimmers now have nine practices a week compared to six from last year, including three weightlifting sessions instead of one. The hardest change to adapt to for all of the swimmers is the number of practices held in the morning; for five days of the week the team practices in the morning, either starting at 6:15 or 5:30. This all comes down to 20 hours of practice a week, the equivalent of a part time job.

It has been tough for everyone to adjust, especially since last year the team had only one morning practice a week. “It’s definitely more challenging than in the years past but we’re adjusting to it well,” says captain AJ Smith. “It’s a lot easier if you think about one practice at a time rather than all at once.” To make matters more difficult, there are also morning practices before swim meets, so swimmers will have to use the school day to recover from morning practice up until the meet. However, the swimmers believe this intense practice schedule will all be worth it when they taper down for big meets such as the Marquette Invite or varsity conference.

As the team progresses in the season and faces more conference rivals in the pool, they hope to continue to make more progress and see their hard work pay off. In the meantime, feel free to catch them in the pool at 5:30 a.m.