Dickinson hoping to improve its part of swim co-op with WillistonDickinson’s girls swimmers have one shot to make their mark at home this season.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Dickinson’s girls swimmers have one shot to make their mark at home this season.
That chance is at 1 p.m. Saturday when Dickinson, together with its co-op partner Williston, hosts its lone invitational of the season at the West River Community Center
“We’re all really excited,” Dickinson head coach Kristi Roller said. “We only get one meet per high school season and it’s an invite, which makes it a little more exciting because we get a couple more teams here.”
Alexa Martel, a senior at Dickinson High, shares similar thoughts, but from an athlete’s perspective.
“It’s really nice not to travel,” she said. “To travel anywhere, we have to wake up early and travel on the bus.”
Dickinson and Williston have been swimming together for several years and there are no plans for Dickinson form its own high school team.
So, for now, the best plan for Dickinson swimmers is to continue swimming with a club team — the Dickinson Dolphins — and competing with Williston during the fall high school season.
“There are no plans in place right now,” said Mark Rerick, Dickinson High athletic director. “Their best chance to stay competitive and participatory is with the club.”
Though the two teams aren’t able to swim side-by-side each day, Dickinson Trinity sophomore Ketti Ringwall said it all works out.
“All the hard work pays off in the end,” she said.
There is limited time to practice together, but Martel said the swimmers from different schools feed off each other at meets.
“We combine our relay teams and we do pretty well,” she said. “We work off each other to go faster in the pool.”
Because Dickinson and Williston are two-and-a-half hours apart, the teams don’t make daily trips for practice. In fact, their time together outside of meets is limited to two weeks in August.
“It’s always a little difficult having two different practices,” Roller said. “Once we get together, we want to strive to feel like one team. It’s not really Dickinson/Williston, we are just one team.”
Roller is in her first season as Dickinson’s coach. She swam for the team when she was in high school.
Dickinson has gone through several coaches in the past few seasons, with a different coach nearly every year.
Roller plans to break that trend.
“It’s hard on a team, switching coaches like that,” she said. “They need to find somebody that they can trust and have a lot of faith in. I’m planning on staying here as long as I can.
“I really want to stay here and build this club team. It just takes dedication and they haven’t had that from a coach in the past three years, and that’s what I’m hoping to change.”
Roller hopes another change she can bring to the team is attracting more swimmers each season through stability in coaching. Dickinson has eight swimmers on the team, which Martel said is about the same as in recent years.
“We’d like to have more girls come out, but they don’t really know about swimming,” she said.
With a vast increase in participation, Dickinson High and Dickinson Trinity could possibly form their own swim team. It’s something Roller and the rest of the Dickinson swimmers hope one day becomes reality.
“That’s our main goal, is to get enough swimmers to where we can start our own team,” Roller said. “Hopefully it keeps growing and we have more girls.”
An increase in numbers isn’t the only thing holding back Dickinson’s swim team. Rerick said there are many obstacles when trying to add a school-sponsored sport. Adding a girls swim team would likely mean Dickinson would need to add a boys team as well.
“Even if those numbers were increased, it would still have to be a discussion with the budget committee,” Rerick said. “With Title IX legislation, you are talking about bringing up two sports, not just one. In the end, (there is) an impact onto our budget is in terms of coaches’ salaries, relays, meet workers, referees and uniforms.”