Swimming with Sharks

Skenandore and Fitzgerald set new school records

By Anthony Schlass, Current Staff

The West Bend co-op swim and dive team is led by two stud competitors, East senior Dakota Skenandore and West sophomore Bryan Fitzgerald.

During the state tournament on Feb. 20 in the UW Natatorium, Skenandore finished second in Division 1 and Fitzgerald took 12th place in the 200-yard individual medley (IM) with a time of 1:58.54 and eighth in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:46.84. This past season Skenandore was ranked third and came out second (490.55) at state, behind only Kenosha Tremper’s Brandon Spencer (343.75).

In Skenandore’s junior season, he took third place at the state meet. “State my junior year I wasn’t feeling the best,” Skenandore said.

“That’s a bit of an understatement. He was sick all night and was puking,” Fitzgerald said.

“I couldn’t keep anything down, including Gatorade. I was happy placing top three but after that I was just dead. As a sophomore I was ranked 20th going in and took 12th and last year I was ranked ninth going into state and came out third,” Skenandore said.

Skenandore and Fitzgerald broke many records throughout the season.

Skenandore“The old co-op six dive record was Dakota’s from last season, 282.90, and the old East six dive record was Todd Hill’s (UWM current dive coach) of 306.00 from 1996 and Dakota broke both of these this season with a 320.45. Dakota also held the eleven dive co-op record of 466.20 from last season. He broke it again this year with a 515.10 which he did at sectionals to qualify for state,” coach Jim Sachse said.

Fitzgerald broke the 200 IM and 400 freestyle for school on the same day. “It felt good because some of those are pretty old,” he said.

Skenandore has had an interesting four seasons of competition. “I started diving my freshman year after I didn’t make freshman basketball. It started in freshman gym class when Coach Sachse was the lifeguard. He saw me jumping off the board and doing flips with my friends and then he told me to try out for diving. I told him, if I don’t make basketball, I’ll go out for diving and it happened just like that,” Skenandore said.

On the other hand, Fitzgerald has been swimming long before his high school career. “I’ve been swimming since I was 10 years old,” Fitzgerald said. In just a short amount of time and a lot of hard work, both boys found themselves very successful.

Off season work is required to be at the level Fitzgerald is on. “I do club swimming in the off season which there are bigger meets than high school. I like high school better because there are guys that can lift with me and it helps a lot in the weight room,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald competes in two events. “200 IM and the 500 freestyle which is the longest one and that’s distance, basically an endurance race making it difficult. The 500 is equivalent to 20 lengths of the pool. Afterwards I usually feel like death. If you’re not out of breath, you’re doing it wrong,” he said.

Fitzgerald does many different types of exercises to get ready for his seasons. “A lot of aerobic training and anaerobic for that last bit of the race and the final sprint,” Fitzgerald said.

Future plans are still undecided at this point in Fitzgerald’s young high school career. “I think I’ll swim in college but I’m not old enough to where they can officially contact me,” he said. “I’ve been to a couple camps but they are not allowed to directly contact you until after sophomore year.”

“It felt good because some of those [records] are pretty old.”
– Bryan Fitzgerald

The sectional meet is the meet where competitors qualify for state based on their performance. This year Skenandore won his sectional and Fitzgerald took second behind a very qualified swimmer. “The 23rd diver, who has the bottom score, makes it and anyone above that makes it as well,” Skenandore said.

The nature of diving is one that only divers truly understand. “Diving is not really a team sport.  Anything you do wrong is all on you. When I dive, I’m stressed out in the beginning because I’m nervous, but as soon as I get my first dive down, I can focus in on what I’m supposed to be doing.  You’re standing there, pretty much in underwear, standing in front of 50 people and if you mess up it hurts your score a lot,” Skenandore said.

“In an 11 dive meet, the diver does at least one dive from all five categories: forward, backward, inward, twisting and reverse.  A six dive meet, the diver does the category of the week that is required and then for the other five dives the diver must do one dive from three of the four remaining categories,” explained Sachse.

Skenandore has great athletic ability and body control. “I like doing the twists.  We have five categories to cover: fronts, backs, inwards, reverses, and twisting with a certain difficulty of dive which is the multiplier. You get seven score and they take the two highest and two lowest and cancel them out. Then they take the average of the remaining score and then multiply that by the DV of the dive,” he said.

Skenandore has been the captain of the dive team for the last two years along with receiving a scholarship from UWM.

“I received a scholarship from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and I can’t wait to dive there.  I’ve already dove with the coach before over the summer. He coached for my current coach, Jim Sachse. It’s cool because it’s the same type of coaching,” Skenandore said.

(Photograph courtesy of Stacy Skenandore.) 

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