Stroke counts, flip turns, and speed - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Stroke counts, flip turns, and speed

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In a world of clutter and chaos, the water is a place to escape.

It is a place of stroke counts, flip turns, and speed.

I grew up swimming on Snowfox Swim Team. My story is like most other swimmers.

"When I was four or five I begged my Mom to go to swim lessons, and I've loved swimming ever since," said Sean Hurly.

"We tried a lot of sports and swimming was the only one I liked," said Kelly Bogensberger.

And, yet the sports has a tough time competing with mainstream sports that are far more visible. An Olympic sport, swimming draws the most eyeballs every four years.

"Everyone gets really excited about being a swimmer and then you don't see it for four years," said Snowfox head coach Clyde Smith. "Whereas, if you turn on the TV every Sunday there is a football game, or basketball game, or a baseball game on. So, it's really hard to bring those kids in but once we get them here we have a tendency to keep them."

In a landlocked state, swimming in South Dakota is even more of an anomaly. Perhaps one of the reasons why swimming isn't as popular here is because it isn't a high school sanctioned sport. South Dakota, Idaho, and Tennessee don't offer swimming the high schools.

"I really do wish there was high school swimming," said Hurly.

Bogensberger agreed, "I definitely wish it was here."

Coach Smith has a different viewpoint. He spent a couple of years in Virginia where there is high school swimming.

"It was so manipulated. The coaches wouldn't share their swimmers. They weren't getting pool time. They didn't understand the plan, so that was a constant struggle for the progression of these athletes," said Smith.

The goals for this particular group are lofty: Olympic Trials, national qualifying times, full-ride scholarships. How many other mainstream athletes are competing at that high of a level?

"Expectations are higher of the kids as far as their effort at practice, as far as their attendance at meets, as far as their performance in general," said Smith.

Right now there are 146 Snowfox swimmers all hoping to become the next Michael Phelps are Natalie Coughlin.

If that doesn't happen, there will always be an underwater world without clutter and chaos.

Just bubbles, swift kicks, and freedom.


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