DC SWIM: What the 17% Know
If 17% of the high school student body showed up to school driving the same make and model of car, we would all wonder what was going on. If 17% of our high schoolers arrived to school wearing pink DC interlock polos, we would surmise that a new trend was on the rise.
But what if 17% of high school students at Dayton Christian all joined the same sports team? At Dayton Christian, the swim team is 45 members strong, roughly 17% of the high school student body. And that number grows larger every year. For comparison’s sake, the percentage of swimmers in the student body in some of the GWOC schools against whom our swimmers compete varies between 2% (Springboro) and 5% (Centerville).
So what is it that these 17% of the student body knows? Why is the swim team so huge? And why does it keep growing?
Sophomore Brianna Blake will readily tell you why so many of our high school students swim.
“It’s fun,” said Blake. “The coaches (Head Coach Tom Wiggershaus, Erich Wiggershaus, Amanda Berlearn, and Ben Geiss) are great. They are so encouraging! They make you want to perform. You want to do well because you don’t want to disappoint them.”
The encouraging environment was repeated by nearly all of the swimmers I interviewed for this article.
“There is no hesitation to help,” explained freshman Sophia Blatz and sophomore Rebecca Skujins. And although expectations are high, the coaches “don’t pressure you or make you feel bad if you don’t do well.”
Nowhere is Wiggershaus’s positive and encouraging style more evident than in his philosophy about not cutting members from the team, no matter how unwieldy the numbers become. “How could I cut swimmers?” said Wiggershaus. “You never know the potential of a swimmer – and if I HAD cut I never would have had a Ben Geiss (Tom still jokes about how Ben went from ‘drowning’ his freshman year to making it to districts his senior year) or an Andrew Haines (the team’s superfast freestyler who only started swimming his freshman year and who, by the way, was named the Dayton Daily News Athlete of the Week last week). You never know the effort a swimmer will put in or how they will improve, so I won’t cut swimmers.”
The positive atmosphere
It’s always fun to be among friends (and it is easy to see that the kids on this team are friends), but especially so when the attitude that is cultivated is one of community and focusing on the positive.
“The atmosphere on the team is that we always have each other’s backs,” said senior and swim team captain Andrew Simmons. “When someone is down, we help them out. We’re like one big family.”
“I started swimming my freshman year with no experience in competitive swimming, and I really enjoyed it because there was such a focus on being a team rather than just swimming,” said junior Andrew Haines. “Since then, I have tried other club teams and that showed me that there is nothing like the sense of community on the DC swim team.”
The fun of breaking records
Although swim team is fun, Wiggershaus’ team also gets results. Last year, the relay team of Ben Geiss, Andrew Simmons, Andrew Haines and Elijah Joyce broke the school record for the 400 freestyle relay. Brooke Darkow, a 2018 graduate, holds the record for the 50 butterfly. And this year, the relay team of Andrew Simmons, Andrew Haines, Elijah Joyce, and Nathaniel Geiss broke the 400 freestyle record again – and with several meets left in the season, the foursome could easily break it once more. Finally, sophomore Elijah Joyce set the 400 Individual Medley record just a few weeks.
It is a part of human nature that people flock to positivity- and that’s what Wiggershaus swim team offers: hard work and fun among friends, encouragement, and the push to constantly improve with coaches and a community that supports you. That is what the 17% knows.
The Warriors of the Water will compete in the Metro Buckeye Conference Championships this Saturday at Trotwood-Madison High School at 3:00 pm. Come join us and cheer them on!