The 2013-2014 season for the Phillips Wave swim team is underway and the coaches are very excited about the potential of this year’s team. The swim team is a club sport and comprised of athletes of all ages unlike other varsity sports. The team is coached by Kent Ertl, Rebecca Lovejoy and Caleb Lallemont.

The team is returning several experienced and talented swimmers this season. They did not lose a single swimmer to graduation and have a lot of depth, which should allow them to compete in all events.

The team will be led by seniors Abi Kaliska, Sydney Young, Kyle Lochner, and Katie Frase.

“Abi and Sydney have both been on the team since they were very young,” the coaches said. “Both of those girls provide leadership to the younger swimmers on the team and we are fortunate to have them back for one more year.

“Kyle returns for his final swim season hoping to build on the improvements he’s made the last two years. Kyle has made great strides over the last two years as a swimmer and we are definitely looking forward to seeing that continue this year.

“Katie returns to the team after a number of years away from it. She is a very strong swimmer who we are glad to have back with us. We like the way Katie has worked hard in practice to regain her stroke form and endurance. It is very difficult to leave swimming for an extended time and then return to it, but Katie has done a terrific job of meeting that challenge.”

Other high school swimmers on the Wave include juniors Lyndsey Holan and Claire Langfoss, sophomores Elise Ertl and Emma Schmidt, and freshmen Michaela Ericksen and Michael Prochnow.

“Lyndsey continues to provide us with a really good breaststroker in both individual and relay events,” the coaches said. “Without Lyndsey’s ability in the breaststroke we would have a real void in that area.

“Claire is probably the most technically sound swimmer on the team. Although backstroke is her favorite, she is able to swim every stroke well and provides great versatility to the team.

“Like Claire, Elise is able to swim every stroke well and competes at a high level in every event she swims. She is also able to provide the important fast anchor leg in our relay events.

“Emma Schmidt is coming off a very successful season last year that saw her improve her times in several events. Emma had big time drops, especially in the 500 and 200 free events, so we are looking forward to seeing her continue that improvement this season.

“Michaela Ericksen brings a determination and toughness to practice and meet events. We don’t often think about swimmers as being tough, but Michaela is exactly that. She wants to swim her best and pushes herself through long practices and long meet events. Everyone on the team admires and appreciates the attitude Michaela brings to the team.

“Michael has developed into a very good freestyle and butterfly swimmer. Michael has really emerged in the last couple of years, thanks to focusing on better technique and putting in some long swims at practice. It has been fun to watch the drastic improvement he has shown and now be able to see him compete with the best in the conference.”

In addition, several foreign exchange students have joined the team this season. Anna Konig, Phafai Vachirabanghong, and Jeongmin Hong are swimming with the team.

“Hopefully, the foreign exchange students will enjoy swimming with the Wave and leave us thinking it was a fun part of their experience in Phillips,” the coaches said.

The Phillips Wave also is also well-represented by swimmers from the middle school level. Those swimmers include Marina Windmoeller, Maria Surman, Mckenzi Franz, Kirsten Weik, Olivia Harding, Annikka Johnson, Grace McCormick, Kayleigh Denruiter, and Eli Pippenger.

“It’s encouraging to see such a dedicated group of middle school swimmers in our program,” the coaches said. “They are the ones who will represent our high school team one day and they are a hard-working group that strives to improve at each practice. There is a lot of potential in this group and we are already seeing it develop.

“Johnson has qualified to compete at regional meets in several events and consistently places well at conference meets. Franz is off to a great start this season, while Weik and Harding had really good swims in our first competitive meet this season. It’s encouraging to see these young swimmers continue to practice hard and lower their times.

“And last but not least is our 10 and under swim team. This year has brought forth a great group of swimmers. We have returning members Hannah Cooper, Jessica and Jazlynn Ludwig, Logan Bjork, Sophia Windmoeller, Preethi Muruganandan, Lydia Holm, Emma Tingo, and Hannah Pippenger. The year has started off great for all of these swimmers and they are working harder than ever.

“This group of students is highly motivated and has completed every task that I have set before them, no matter how daunting. Many are already geared up to qualify for the Minnesota State meet, and with the determination that they have shown so far this season, several are likely to accomplish just that.”

Along with their returning swimmers, the team also has several newcomers to the swim team. Those swimmers include Paige Dragovich and Wyatt Graceffa of Park Falls, and Kendal Weik, Pooja Muruganandan, Alec Bjork and Jessica Morrone of Phillips.

“Each of these swimmers has already shown a massive improvement since the first day of practice as they learn the ropes and what it means to be a member of the Phillips Wave swim team,” said the coaches. “We have worked them hard these first couple weeks, and we have high hopes that they will all continue to improve and become great additions to our team.”

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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