Joey Stecher, junior diver, along with two other divers have already qualified for state early on in the swim and dive season. Stecher qualified at an 11-dive meet and he has an unofficial qualifying score during a six meet.
“ Now that I’ve qualified, there isn’t as much pressure for the next 11-dive meets to qualify,” Stecher said.
Nicholas Wintrode and Marco Raimondi also qualified for state at the 11-Dive meet onSept. 24 against Parkway South. Three swimmers have also qualified for state already including senior Hayden Christiansen, senior Spencer Hyatt and sophomore Jake Hansen.
The team is looking to see growth and improvement from last season to this season.
“Our goal this year has been to place well at state. We got 6th in our class last year and are looking to place even better this year,” assistant coach Abby VerMeer said.
Even though Stecher is off to a successful start, he still hopes to try and learn a few new dives for this season as well as placing in the top five at the state meet. He also has some new company at practice. Coach Natalie Vonarx did not return this year, so the divers are practicing at Parkway West High School alongside Parkway West and Parkway South divers, as the Parkway South’s diving board is broken and due to state regulations they can’t get a new one.
“This circumstance has given me the opportunity to know the other Parkway divers a lot better where we are just as encouraging to one another as in the Central swim team,” Stecher said, but he Stecher believes the diving board at Parkway Central is better.
Senior Nate Mercier believes that the team as a whole has seen improvement. He thinks that he has improved most of his strokes this season.
“ My goal for myself is to get below a minute on my 100 free and for the team, this season would probably be to do well at state,” Mercier said.
Due to COVID-19, no spectators are allowed to attend the meets which makes it way quieter for the swimmers.
Senior Alex Napawan is one of the captains for the swim and dive team. His personal goal is to be a leader on the team.
“The team dynamic this year is the same as it always has been. It’s a brotherhood, we’re just one big family,” Napawan said.
VerMeer believes the team has a great dynamic.
“We have a really strong senior class, who has set the bar pretty high for everyone. We knew going into the season that our team was going to be really fast, so everyone was pretty excited that we got to compete this year,” VerMeer said. “They have all been working really hard, and it’s been great to see that translate into their racing.”
Napawan’s personal goals for this season are to stay in shape and be able to perform at his best. One thing that makes this season different from the others is the need for social distancing, Napawan finds this a challenge.
“Swimming is a very mental sport and usually we are a lot closer together as a team and are in contact with each other more. However in order to prevent illnesses from spreading we’ve had to limit that contact with many making the mental grind of the sport that much harder,” Napawan said. “We are still a very close team and continue many of our traditions that we have had in the past.”
VerMeer is thankful that swim is a contact sport which made the COVID-19 precautions run smoothly.
“Thankfully with swimming there is no contact, so that is something we never had to worry about,” VerMeer said. “However, we have definitely been following typical county protocols: wearing masks, keeping 6 feet of distance. Each lane starts at different ends of the pool to minimize the amount of swimmers at the wall at the same time. The season has gone very smoothly.”
The next boys swim and dive meet is Oct.12 against St. Louis University High at Parkway Central.