Leading the Upper Perk girls swim team this season will be seniors, left to right, Becca Rose, Kristen Kilroy, Christina Williams, Krysta Rehrig and Danielle Marino.
Monday the Upper Perk High School swim team began practices, preparing for their first meet on Dec. 6 and getting acquainted with two new coaches for the program.
Sharing the head coach position will be Kyle Kuser, who has served as head coach for water polo for the past two years and as an assistant coach for swimming. Joining him is Brien Kalnoski, who used to coach at Boyertown High School. The pair replace Jessica Smith who headed the team for the 2012-13 season.
“I was very fortunate to get a call from the Upper Perk athletic director asking me if I was interested in coaching with coach Kuser,” said Klanoski. “It was an opportunity to coach a great group of kids.”
Klanoski has been coaching swimming for 17 years. He has spent time coaching the Boyertown YMCA team and assistant coaching the Boyertown Area high school team, as well as the Shillington Streaks Summer Swim team as a head coach.
“I am an educator first and foremost,” said Klanoski. “In addition to coaching, I also teach my swimmers why we do what we do. I want the team to enjoy themselves even when they are working hard.”
Both coaches hope to bring a structured training cycle into practices, as well as to keep the practices balanced, to ensure a successful year.
“We want to emphasize the team concept,” said Klanoski. “we should be positive and supportive of each other.”
With the boys’ team winning the district title last year, Upper Perk has a reputation to uphold. However, after losing seven swimmers last year, it will be a tough race for the boys.
“I hope to improve as a whole team, both men’s and women’s,” said Kuser.
The girls only lost one senior last year, and hope to continue going strong with their five seniors: Christina Williams, Becca Rose, Krysta Rehrig, Kristen Kilroy and Danielle Marino, all who have gone to the district meet in past years.
“We are expecting the seniors on the team to provide leadership that is always a contributing factor in having a successful season,” Klanoski said.
The team sets goals for the season, both as a group and as individuals.
“I have individual goals for each swimmer, and as a team,” Kuser said. He hopes that this year, his team will be “swimming personal best times, improving stroke technique and continuing development.”
The boys’ and girls’ teams have gained one freshman each this year, as well as various new swimmers from other grade levels.
“We expect everyone to contribute to the maximum that their abilities allow,” Klanoski said. “Even though you swim individual events in this sport, you can’t win without everyone making a contribution to the team.”
The swim team enters its season feeling strong and unified. “We are a small team,” Klanoski said, “we sink or swim together.”