The whistle blows and before the crowd knows it, Pioneer men’s swimming team dives in the water, making its way down the pool.
With adrenaline pumping through their veins as they glide through the water, Pioneer swimmers make history while continuously proving themselves in the pool this winter season.
“I think we have seen some really strong performances this season,” second-year head coach Brian Peresie said. “There are some really strong returners that have been performing really well out of the gate and we also have a lot of newcomers that have been making an impact right away as well.”
It is no secret that men’s swimming has taken the word “determination” to a whole new level. With a 6-3 team record and numerous school records under its belt, Pioneer men’s swimming team has the drive and attitude this winter season to raise its program to a well-known commodity.
“This year was trying to establish a good team culture,” Peresie said. “We wanted to start to build traditions within the program and we started that off this year with a 5k warrior dash.”
After returning from a long summer break, the swimming team headed its way to Bruschetta Park in Cleveland to spend some quality time with teammates.
Learning about one another and growing together as a team, Pioneer swimming learned what it was going to take to make a mediocre program great.
[pullquote]”This year we are swimming pretty strong,” Reuther said. “We have a winning record and we are doing significantly better than what we did last year. We have some really great guys on the team not only improving the competitiveness but also the team’s atmosphere.”[/pullquote]
“The second or third week of school we went off campus and we did a warrior dash at Bruschetta Park,” Peresie said “It was really good to get the team off campus. We did some team building activities and we got to grow a little bit closer together.”
Tough training can always lead a disciplined athlete to success, but the bond created together as a team can bring greater success than any individual.
“The team is much different than it was last year,” Peresie said. “Both in size and in the athletes of the program. I think there is a combination of things that have evolved over the last year in terms of attitudes in the men and women’s program.
“Both sides have a good understanding of the program and the expectations of the program. I feel very confident that we are heading in the right direction and I think that the atmosphere this year is what has brought us success.”
Junior long distance swimmer Zach Reuther also shared how growing together as one can bring home glory.
“This year we are swimming pretty strong,” Reuther said. “We have a winning record and we are doing significantly better than what we did last year. We have some really great guys on the team not only improving the competitiveness but also the team’s atmosphere.”
Reuther, along with his coach, agreed that building the program’s foundation as a true unified community is what has brought the team’s performances to a whole new level.
“This year we have a more encouraging attitude as far as really being energized about getting behind each other, making sure we give it our all,” Reuther said. “Not only in our competitions, but also encouraging and cheering for each other in their competitions and I think that has really brought up the team in general.”
Although the team has taken a drastic turn in performances and attitudes, Pioneer swimming still remains on its toes from the driven powerhouse conference, The GLIAC.
Through some major break out performances, the team looks forward to really showing its competitive side in early February, after winter break.
“The GLIAC championship will be February 6-9,” Peresie said. “Ashland is hosting it this year but they will be in swimming in our pool, which really gives us that benefit.
“But the conference is definitely deeper than the conference we were in before. The times are a lot more competitive and overall we have a lot more competition this year than we ever did.”
But swimming against some of the toughest programs in the nation doesn’t make Pioneer swimmers hesitate. Keeping the right attitude in mind and working harder than ever, Pioneer swimmers look forward to the challenge that is ahead of them.
“I think we are all on the same page in training, in competition and also with our relationships with each other on the team,” Peresie said. “Happy swimmers are fast swimmers and I think they are pretty happy.”
With happy swimmers and fast performances, Coach Peresie can only hope for his swimmers’ dedication to pay off.
“I try not to have the team, whether it is in a dual meet or even in a championship meet, focus on the team finish or point totals,” Peresie said. “Instead if we can take the individual performances and have each athlete execute the skills in competition that we have been working on and let the training take care of the rest, then that’s what is going to put the points on the board.”
Through all the success, Peresie, along with his swimmers, strive to what God holds for the future of Pioneer swimming.
“One area where I want to see them grow is in their relationships with God,” Peresie said. “And I am hoping I see them tie their training to their relationships with Christ. And to those that do not have that relationship I hope that they will want to have that desire, to find him and seek him.
“Additionally in terms of competition for the future, we are striving to be conference champions… striving to be one of the top programs in Division II in the nation. That is what we are shooting for and doing so is through the process and the day to day discipline of school work, nutrition, practices and so forth.”
Pioneer swimmers will continue its developing journey onto becoming a well-known NCAA Division II program when they compete in the Wooster Invitational at Wooster Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 29-Dec. 1.