The Glasgow Kiwanis Swim Team has started their season and one meet in is already beginning to make waves.
The team traveled to Sidney this past weekend and ended up taking third place in the two-day event with a score of 532 points. Glendive finished in second with 648 points while Sidney took the first place finish with an astounding 1,465 points.
The Glasgow squad is under new leadership this year as Whitney Billing and Irene Whitmer are the new coaches.
Billing swam for the Kiwanis team in Glasgow from ‘93-’04. Since then she has been working at East Side School and when approached about the possibility of coaching the team this summer, she jumped at the opportunity.
Whitmer swam three years in high school in Powell, Wyoming. She also ran and cycled and after sustaining injuries in those sports, Whitmer returned to swimming as a form of rehab. She has three kids in the Kiwanis program and joked that when she signed them up, she was a prime target to help with the coaching duties because of her previous swimming background.
The age groups for the swim team starts at 8-years-old and under (the youngest member on the team this year is four) and runs all the way up to the age of 19 or one year after finishing high school, whichever comes first.
Whitmer said that the Kiwanis Swim Team is a little different than swim teams that high schools form during the school year.
For example, their four-year-old swimmer has to be able to swim 25-meters in the pool, but the difference is that swimmer can do it assisted at meets with a senior swimmer (15 and up) helping along the way.
Another difference is that a swimmer who’s not as strong swimming a full length in free-style is allowed to flip over on their back and finish the length or race in that position.
In the tournament at Sidney, Glasgow had three official relays in the event and threw together an exhibition relay to get some practice in for other swimmers.
“I was impressed with the way the older kids stepped up and helped the younger kids,” Billing said. “We had lots of time improvement and stroke improvement and thats what we saw in all of our swimmers.”
Not bad for a team that started practice the Monday before the Sidney meet.
Billing said that practice is held twice a day, five days a week, but that swimmers are only required to show up to half of those practices because of busy summer schedules.
The team has five age groups which start at bantam and transition through midget, junior and intermediate levels before ending at the senior level which is for swimmers 15 and up.
The swimmers have four different swim strokes to choose from to compete in events in from your regular freestyle stroke to breast, butterfly and backstroke.
Some swimmers already standing out to Billing and Whitmer include Ben Miller, DJ Rasmusan, Britt Faiclough and Jordan Kulczyk.
Miller, in only his second year of swimming for the team, has impressed his coaches.
“He’s only in his second year of swimming and we hardly have to coach him,” Billing said. “He’s just a natural swimmer.”
Kulczyk and Rasmusan had strong showings in their events on the weekend. Kulczyk took first in the 50-meter freestyle event with a time of 32.17. Rasmusan finished third in the same race with a mark of 34.73. The two placed in the 100 freestyle with Kulczyk finishing in second with a time of 1:13.10 and Rasmusan taking third at 1:21.13.
On the boys side, Ben Miller took third in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:14.58. He also took second in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:37.26.
Fairclough and fellow Glasgow swimmer Dalton Sand were the high point swimmers in their respective age group. Fairclough took the high point in the intermediate category (11-12 age group) and Sand took the honor in the junior category (9-10).
The Kiwanis Swim Team is traveling to Malta this weekend for another two-day meet.