Men’s swim team has high goals for upcoming section and state meets

Selim Ayhan, Staff writer

The men’s swim team is preparing to compete at the section and state tournaments and expectations are high. With the state meet being in the first week of March, South swimmers take time to practice daily.

Senior captain Carlo Balleria has been swimming at South for three years. “I think there are a lot of good people on the team that could make it to state,” he commented. “We have good relays and individual racers.”

The swimmers practice at the YWCA across the street from the school, which isn’t ideal for every athlete. According to Balleria, “Practicing at the Y is kind of annoying because we have to rent it and cannot spend as much time we want.”

Not everyone agrees with Balleria, though. Junior David Baldeus disagreed saying, “I like it because it is right by school,” but said that it can be inconvenient because “we don’t have blocks there so we can’t practice starts.” He added that having a pool at South would make things a lot easier.

Senior Calder Michienzi is one of the top swimmers on the team and he also has big goals, like his teammates. “My goal is to break a minute in breast stroke and [rank] top five in state,” said Michienzi. Last year, Michienzi won the 100-meter breast stroke at sections, took eleventh place at the state meet, and beat the school record with a time of 1:00.64.

Judging by his accomplishments last year, Michienzi’s goal is not impossible for him. About the state meet this year, Michienzi said, “We are hoping to have a couple relays there and I should be there with the 100-meter breast stroke.” Michienzi added about the team, “We are kind of unique, we are one of a few city teams.”

Assistant Coach Niel Anderson coaches both the men’s and women’s swim teams at South. Over the many years that Anderson has coached at South, he commented, “We have gotten much better.”

This season the swimmers from South are doing well in general. The team record is 4-3. “We finished second in the city conference and we’ve also won a number of non-conference meets,” said Anderson. “In invitationals we have swam very well.”

Before the swimmers get to compete at state, they have to win sections. On how the team is preparing for sections, Anderson said, “We are having very focused practices. As we get closer to sections our practices become shorter and less intense in order to rest.”

Along with great talent, South’s men’s swim team is special in other ways as well. “We have pink caps and we are the only Minneapolis team without pool,” was a comment from Balleria.

Adding to Balleria’s statement, Baldeus said, “We have more spirit and more unity as a team, but we are a lot smaller than most teams and that makes it hard to complete.”