Infusion of youth could life WHS/WNHS swim team
The Woodstock/Woodstock North girls co-op swimming team is a lot younger this fall and not just with the swimmers. Nine freshmen joined the team along with new coach Molly Gomberg, a 2008 graduate of Crystal Lake Central and a four-year varsity swimmer at Illinois State University.
Gomberg, who did not start competitive swimming until her junior year of high school and was team MVP and first team all Missouri Valley Conference her senior year at ISU, said she feels blessed with both the team and the facility she has inherited.
“The first year has been great so far,” Gomberg said. “I have had great leadership from the seniors, and the freshmen class has brought in a lot of energy. I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls. ... I am lucky to get this facility. To come to this with eight lanes and all this space is great. I’ve told the team they are very lucky.”
Gomberg said the freshman group brings a lot of energy, and she sees getting them young as an advantage.
“[The freshmen] have been great to work with,” Gomberg said. “It’s nice to have a freshmen class starting with me so they are learning my philosophy and coaching style. They jump right in whenever I tell them to. They don’t question anything I have ever told them. ... They’re goofy; they bring a lot of energy.”
WNHS athletic director Nic Kearfott said he is impressed with his young coach.
“[Molly] has come in and set very high expectations for the girls,” Kearfott said. “But she’s done a great job working with them and gets them to give their best in the pool, and it has shown in their results. ... She’s very raw, but she’s willing to learn and do anything she needs to do.”
Gomberg said she is impressed with how her swimmers are applying the things they are learning in practice. She plans to add a morning practice in the immediate future and said the team needs to continue to work to improve.
“They need to be making every effort to give 100 percent,” Gomberg said. “They need to be whole-heartedly into the sport. Ask for advice. Try in every way to improve.”
The team has 23 members. The captains are seniors Emily Albertz and Amelia Orosco, who are both impressed with their new coach.
“I think the team has a lot of potential this year,” Albertz said. “Last year, we did really well, and this year we are trying to do it again. Our coach has set really high goals for us.”
“This season is going well,” Orosco said. “We’re getting a lot faster as we progress, and our coach is working us really hard. I like that because we are getting faster times.”
Gomberg, who is looking for her team to improve in conference and send swimmers to the state meet, believes she has three swimmers who have the talent to make the journey - junior Allie DeWane and freshmen Tess Devinger and Lizzy Kruse. Devinger set a new school record with a time of 1:12.72 in the 100-yard breaststroke Sept. 6 against Belvidere co-op.
“With them and another wildcard, we can put together a pretty good 200 [yard] free relay and maybe get some of them in individual events,” Gomberg said.
The rest of the team includes seniors Taylor Pichen and Sarah Singer; juniors Sofia De Luisa, Christina Frasik, Mikala Kurzbuch, Bella Malek, Claudia Orman and Kaely Simek; sophomores Brooke Brasile, Megan Harris and Amanda Homeier; and freshmen Maddie Emmons, Katie Ferguson, Megan Frasik, Rachel Mallow, Gianna McGuire, Lexus Parkin and Abbie Roberts.