Raider swimmers hope to make waves
Tamaqua girls swim team members are, front row, from left, Savannah Szabo, Jazmin Mena, Nichelle Pucklavage and Makayla Boyle. Second row, Caroline Kanaskie, Joann Butkus, Emily Bumbulsky and Miranda Amey. Third row, Danielle DiCindio, Amber Gulick, Carly Trovinger and Denae Starry. Back row, head coach Ashley Stanek, assistant coach Adrian Bumbulsky and assistant coach Nate Leibensperger. Fourth row, from left: Ashley Stanek (head coach), Adrian Bumbulsky, Nate Leibensperger
Last season, Tamaqua's girls swim team finished the regular season with a record of 11-1-1 overall and captured the Schuylkill League title.
But that's not something that this year's Blue Raider team is thinking about. Tamaqua enters this season with a plan of taking it one meet at a time. The Raiders plan to focus on the task at hand, rather than looking too far into the future.
"With graduation, we lost a lot of depth and a lot of talent," said Tamaqua coach, Ashley Stanek. "We also lost a lot of leadership and it will be intersting to see what happens. But we're just going to take one meet at a time."
On the other side of the pool, the boys' team finished 2-11 overall a year ago and 2-3 in the league, and this season will face the familiar challenge of overcoming a lack of numbers on the team, in order to compete with some of the stronger teams on the schedule.
That goal will be bolstered by five newcomers on the roster who should be able to contribute immediately.
"We have a few newcomers this year one senior, three freshmen and a junior," Stanek said. "It's hard to see what can or will happen. But I'm hoping that they can pull it off."
Every student-athlete on the entire team has their own individual goals and standards that they are trying to attain and Stanek feels that if they can focus on those individual goals, other goals will be reached, as well.
"Practice time is so interesting to see, as a coach," Stanek said. "There isn't a single wasted minute by any of the team members. Their work ethic is so impressive and they are all individually driven to improve on their events, and it creates a strong overall performance. Because if they focus on their individual goals, the team goals should be able to follow."
"They really push each ÃÂ¸ther and they're competitive with each other. That helps when it comes time to face off against other teams."
Gone from last season are Zak Yuchera from the boys' team, while Ashley VanBuren, Andrea Whitley and Megan Wagner are all graduated from the girls team.
Returning is a strong core of capable athletes, however.
The girls will be led by Joann Butkus (Jr., 100 Fly), Caroline Kanaskie (Sr., 200 Free), Miranda Amey (Jr., 500 Free), Carly Trovinger (Jr., 100 Breast), Emily Bumbulsky (Sr., 100 Breast), and Danielle Decindio (So., 100 Fly).
For the boys' team, Jake Kropp (Jr., 100 Back), Matt Stanek (Jr., 500 Free), Gage Whalen (So., 100 Fly) and Ethan Eberts (So., 100 Back) are solid in their events.
"They've been really good with helping with the new kids to the team," Stanek mentioned about their leadership thus far. "(Stanek and Kropp) are co-captains and they're definitely showing leadership by doing whatever is asked of them."
Looking ahead, Stanek sees available options for the boys' team as reliant upon their ability to keep working hard as the season progresses.
"They're all looking to do the best that they can," she said. "They know that they are low in numbers, so they're very focused on their individual goals and performing to the best of their ability, because other teams have so many swimmers and they realize the challenge that stands ahead of them."
In terms of the Tamaqua Lady Raiders, the defending Schuylkill League champions, they will continue to focus on the job at hand and take one day at a time, starting Thursday at Blue Mountain.