GOSHEN—Two girls in speedo swimsuits, goggles, and swim caps step onto diving boards at the newly-opened Goshen Community Pool on a Monday afternoon.
As they make their way back to the diving boards from the other end of the pool, swim coach Melissa Kubik tells them to keep their legs straight so they don’t smack the water when they jump.
“They all work really hard,” said Kubik, who has been coaching them less than a month.
She is the coach of the newly–formed Goshen varsity girl’s swim team, which was made possible when Goshen opened its first community pool and gave the 24-girl team four lanes to use for practice.
Some of the girls have swam on club teams, but about half have never swum competitively, Kubik said.
They have only been practicing since mid August and did a great job at their first meet against Washingtonville on Thursday, Kubik said. They didn’t win the meet, but they were proud of their performance.
“Progress-wise, it’s been phenomenal,” she said. “Since so many of them don’t have the competitive experience, they’re very eager to learn.”
The team has good chemistry, she said, and if she were to use one word to describe them, it would be “excitement.”
There is a lot to learn in a short amount of time, so Kubik has been doing something called “team coaching.” Regardless of age, the girls with more experience coach girls with less experience.
Emma Melley, 12, who already had some experience under her belt from swim clubs, made the tryouts for the varsity high school as a middle schooler. When asked what it was like to be teaching girls older than her, she said with a giggle it was “a little weird.”
For Liz Pehush, 16, who has been swimming competitively for a long time, Goshen varsity swimming was a long time in coming. She had been pestering the athletic director of the Goshen high school about starting one, she said, and now in her junior year, it finally became a reality.
“I hope that we get more numbers and that we excel,” she said, dreaming of the team one day winning the state title.
Miranda Florkowski, a senior this year, said it is exciting to be part of the first Goshen Varsity Swim team, even if for only one year. She came in with no competitive experience, but said she has made “major improvements”.
“That first day of practice, I was like ‘Oh great, I’m not going to make it,” she said. “But now it’s getting easier and it’s fun.”
She is looking forward to bragging rights when she comes back to the Goshen high school years from now and can say she was on the first Goshen varsity swim team. She joked, “I”ll be like, ‘I didn’t’ know anything, but I was there.'”
At the beginning when the team was a lot smaller, their motto was the “littlest but the loudest”. Kubik said they are still the “loudest and the proudest,” but they aren’t so little anymore—they are medium-sized for the division they are in.
They talk a lot about the team’s “firsts,” Kubik says.
“The girls are really excited because every time they win an event, and they go really fast at our first meet, they set a new school record,” she said.
Another first for Goshen varsity swimming will come in November when the Goshen varsity boys start their season.
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