STERLING – The Sterling swimming team is tapering with sectionals right around the corner.
With the Golden Warriors cutting down on the yardage, they have had time to hone some of the little details before heading to Byron for Saturday’s sectional meet.
“Obviously you’re watching your yards,” Sterling senior Turner Morse said. “We’ll take more time to do more turns during practice. We’ll do certain drills where we’ll put weights on our ankles or we will just work the turns, and then Coach will give us pointers while we’re doing it.”
From working on turns, to working on starts, to getting their breathing down, to simply knowing where they are in the pool and how many strokes it will take until they make the turn, the Golden Warriors are hoping the little things add up to a big difference in the pool on Saturday.
“When you’re training in the middle of the season, usually it’s the little things that you get sloppy on,” Sterling coach Kyle Ruiz said. “We’ve been able to clean it up and definitely get a little more power and a little more speed at the same time off the starts.”
Sterling junior Robby Christensen said that with the starts, the team is just seeing how fast it can get out of the blocks.
“Right when you hear that noise go off, you’ve just got to go,” he said.
Once they get to the other end of the pool, there is another technique they can work on, in hopes that perfecting it will help lower their times.
“We’re really looking at our turns and making them more explosive, getting off the walls faster to give us just a little more of an edge,” Sterling junior Zach Wade said. “I think I’m fairly decent, I’m pretty confident. It’s taken years to get to the point of where I’m at and perfecting every single detail.”
Freshman Jack Wike is also looking at the transition from the dolphin kick to the freestyle and making that as smooth as possible.
“I can see where I’m starting to catch kids on places where I’d normally lose ground,” he said.
Wike, Wade, Christensen and Morse have been swimming together for much of the year as Sterling’s 400-yard freestyle relay team. They’ve been swimming the 200 free relay too, though senior Arie Interone has been in the mix on that one as well. Ruiz has not set his lineup for the sectional yet, but likes that he has multiple options for the relays.
“It definitely allows me to shuffle some things up, which as a team is nice because you don’t get tired of swimming the same thing,” Ruiz said. “Also, from the team aspect, it allows us to maximize the number of points we’re going to score in every event.”
Ruiz said the immediate goal for Saturday is just to cut time, and then to score as many points for the team as possible. The end result may not be a berth at the state meet Feb. 24-25, but as Ruiz says, “If they swim first, the results will follow.”
“Hopefully we’ll cut time,” Morse said. “I’m hoping state’s an option, but I know Byron’s got some good guys in those relays, Boylan and Honnonegah as well. We just want to cut time and go the best time for us. If it’s not enough, it’s not enough, and if it is, that’s awesome.”
Sterling did not have anyone advance to the state meet in 2016, but did advance its 400 freestyle relay team and Lucas Campbell in the 50 freestyle in 2015.
“Right now, we’ve been preparing as best as we could,” Christensen said. “We’ve been practicing very hard. We’re starting to see improvements. We’re hoping to try to make it to state. We’ve got a decent shot at it, so we’re hoping to get in and continue it on from last year.”