Another season comes to an end for the Knox College swim team, a season of potential beginning to flourish, and the seeds of success being sewn. Coach C.J. Rugh, coming off his second season, one of perpetual improvement, continues to be optimistic of the upswing the team is taking.
“We performed real well, all year,” he said. “We look real strong going into next year, and if recruitment pays off like it should, then we will be looking pretty good against our competition. Probably the best praise we got was from the other team’s coaches. They were impressed with the strides the program has taken, even in these last couple of years. That’s a real reflection on the kids.”
The team will be losing four swimmers to graduation, all taking with them experience and leadership abilities that they brought the team.
“We’ll miss our four seniors next year,” said sophomore captain Tony Meyer. “Leigh [Abrams], Christy [DeChaine], Jon [Hoeven], and Andrew [Kama] brought a lot to the team.”
“They were big contributors,” said Coach Rugh. “We can’t replace them, but we can try to make additions to make up for it.”
The team’s trip to Conference in Appleton, Wis. this weekend was a successful one, and even with a shorthanded team, both through injury and lack of depth, the team performed exceedingly well.
“We beat Illinois College,” said Coach Rugh. “All five of the swimmers on the men’s side did, and even though we got hit hard in some events we were short in, we scored where we could, and overall, improved from last year, which is something to be proud of. It was really the best meet of the year.”
Several swimmers had excellent days, including Meyer, who set personal records in every individuals event he participated in, including the 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. He also came in fifth in the 50-yard freestyle. Also, the women’s 400 yard medley relay came in sixth, and the women’s 200-yard freestyle relay came in eighth, while freshman Kelley O’Connor came in eleventh in the 200-yard individual medley, and freshman Chandler Harris came in thirteenth in the men’s side of the event. The men and came in eighth in the 200-yard medley relay, while the women pulled off seventh in the same event. Overall, the teams finished ninth place for the women, and eighth place for the men.
“Given that we don’t have the numbers of the other teams, we swam as well as we could,” said Meyer. “Coach Rugh did a great job motivating us throughout the course of the three day meet, and we were able to pull off some nice times.”
“We did swim well in the relays, but you can’t win them all, you know?” Coach Rugh said. “We just came up a little short. Still, with the size of the team, you can’t fault the performance, especially later in the meet.”
The team’s stay in Appleton ran a little long, as snowfall held the buses there until early Monday morning. Still, the team did not let this get them down, since it was their last time together as a team for a season, and for some, for their college careers. It was a respectable campaign for the Knox Water Fire, and nobody should be disappointed with their performance.
“These kids faced a lot of adversity,” said the coach. “They pulled through, and the only possible way for this program next year is up.”
Until next January, we will have to wait to see where the team goes, and how much more they will improve.