Hopkins swimming and diving captains Hannah Boggess, Rae Bullinger and Addie Thelen were very deliberate about where they sat as Assistant Coach Lauren Greenberg gathered the team together for a chat before Wednesday’s time trials. The captains searched out new faces and made sure to sit by the rookies instead of the teammates already gotten to know from earlier years.
The captains have plenty of new faces to get to know this year. The 10 seventh and eighth graders trying out for the team are more than any of the captains can remember. They also have a new team of coaches: Head Coach Kristen Steenvoorden, Greenberg and Dive Coach Ryan Panure.
“A whole lot of new girls and new coaches makes it challenging—but also fun,” Thelen said.
New team notwithstanding, Steenvoorden has lofty goals for the year. Hopkins has two individual state qualifiers returning: Bullinger and Kate Glover, now a freshman. Steenvoorden hopes to double last year's number of individual state qualifiers and see some relay teams advance, to boot.
The captains say they’re doing about three dry land workouts a week—more than they have in the past. Running, in particular, is a new part of the workout, Bullinger said.
Yet the coaches’ youth is an equally important addition. The girls like having people close to their own age to learn from.
“It’s good to have younger coaches,” Bullinger said.
The coaches return that affection: “I want to make sure I connect with everyone individually, as well as the team as a whole,” Greenberg said.
But as Thelen noted, the new dynamic does pose some challenges. Leaders are working to ensure the newer girls know about the team’s traditions and understand what’s going on.
Said Steenvoorden: “My first goal was just to build the team camaraderie.”
The swimmers don’t have long before they’ll put their ambitions to the test. The season begins Aug. 31 with the Eau Claire Memorial Invitational. Yet the captains say the girls are already starting together and that they expect the season ahead to be a good one.
“I’m excited,” Boggess said. “I think this is going to be a good year.”