Swim & dive looks to build off last season


Morgan Guenther

Senior Tyler Popke is determined to finish strong in his heat of the one hundred-yard breaststroke in Whitewater on Jan. 22, 2022.

Ryan Baker, Men’s Sports Assistant Editor

The UW-Whitewater swim and dive team tries to worry about only what they can control themselves for the upcoming 2022-23 season. That’s something that head coach Elise Knoche wants to instill in the minds of the abnormally young team before the season begins.

Coming off of a fourth place finish at the WIAC Championships last season, the Warhawks want to be able to build off of that. However, they do realize that each year is a new year with different challenges that they may not have seen previously.

“I tell our team that we can’t control what any of the other teams do,” Knoche said. “All we can control is what we do, so if we put in our preparation every day throughout the season, we are going to place our team in the best position possible when it comes to the end of the season.”

Having that mindset plays into their hand, especially with the situation the team looks into this year. The roster holds just two seniors, along with five juniors, one sophomore and an astounding nine freshmen. The last time the Warhawks saw that much youth was in the 2016-17 season when they had an equally large freshman group.

“We have a really young team this year. Half of them are freshmen, so I’m expecting that we are going to have a lot of youthful energy, which is going to be exciting for us,” Knoche said. “We are going back to the basics so we are all on the same page, and we are going to build together as a team from there.”

On the flip side, the two senior titles belong to Ryan Corfield and Joe Wenszell. Corfield was named as a member of the WIAC All-Sportsmanship Team, while Wenszell was able to medal last year in the championships in the 200-yard backstroke. These two look to lead the charge this year as leaders to develop the younger players.  

“There’s a little bit of stress there, but having the really good junior class helps,” Corfield said. “They’ve done a really good job of stepping up and showing leadership and being role models, so that’s really helped me and the other senior.”

Corfield wants to take advantage of his last year here. He looks to start off the season in a strong fashion on Oct. 8 for the Alumni and Intrasquad Meet. From there, it’s a matter of taking it meet by meet, practice by practice, all the way to mid-February when the WIAC Championships take place.

“My mindset is that it’s my last year here, so I just want to make the most of what I got,” Corfield said. “We have a great team this year, so that’s really motivating when we have a team that wants to be there. They really make it more motivating for me to be there. I want to make it the best season that I can, while staying on top of my academics.”

Academics are also a big part of the team, especially when they were named as a Scholar All-America Team following the fall 2021 semester.

The Warhawks are hoping to continue the success in and out of the water this year. As long as they can develop the maturity, talents and minds of the freshman class it will be a season that people are going to be talking about for a while.