Swim team makes waves during first season with new coach


Caleb Geer

Simpson swimming and diving had their last home meet vs. Coe College on Jan 29.

by Caleb Geer, Copy Editor

With a new coach and young roster, it came as a surprise to many to see the success the Simpson College swimming and diving team had in its 2021-22 season.

With rookie head coach Adam Cvetich at the helm, the team set multiple school records including four in Decorah at the American Rivers Conference Invitational which was their last meet of the season.

This all came despite having three seniors graduate in fall 2021.

“We had three amazing seniors that graduated early and that stunk. That was rough on us,” Cvetich said. “Amazing leaders and I can’t speak enough positives about them.” 

Fortunately, the rest of the young team was able to keep up the energy after the seniors departed.

“They all have the same goal of just improving their swimming and getting faster,” Cvetich said.

First-year Katelyn Smith was on the 800-meter freestyle relay team that broke the team record by over five seconds with a time of 8:21:67 at the A-R-C Invitational. She was also on the relay team that previously held the record as well, although from earlier in the season. 

“To break your own record as a freshman is kind of crazy,” Smith said. “It was really cool, and to break it by almost five seconds was even better.”

The team’s success has been accredited by some of the team to Cvetich’s unique ideas for what training should look like. Instead of swimming for the sake of swimming, Cvetich wants the team to have a focus and purpose in everything they do at practice. 

“We really focus on everything we do, and we do things fast, which is a different approach than most coaches have,” sophomore Katie Oosterhuis said.

To those on the team, Cvetich came at a perfect time for the program.

 “I think Coach Adam [Cvetich] came in at a good time because a lot of our team was seniors last year and then there were a bunch of freshmen this year,” Oosterhuis said. 

The timing presents the opportunity for both the team and coach to grow side-by-side.

While outsiders may see the team’s lack of upperclassmen and experience as a weakness, Oosterhuis chooses to see it a different way. 

“I think it gives us an advantage especially now that we’ve gotten this one conference meet under our belt we have a lot of energy and a lot of potential,” Oosterhuis said. 

Team culture has been another strength for the team this year with the group closely resembling a family. 

“We describe it as brothers and sisters. We bicker back and forth but it’s all-loving and we still even now in the offseason when we’re not practicing together have team breakfast once a week,” Smith said.

This offseason, the team hopes to grow in both numbers and strength. Cvetich, during his first full offseason with the program, hopes to be able to find incoming first-years to fill holes in certain events for next year. With a full recruiting season and the welcoming team atmosphere, rapid growth is extremely possible going into the next season for the team that currently consists of nine members.

Current swimmers on the team are looking to use the offseason to become stronger to chase records again next season.

The team has taken the initiative to lift together over the offseason while they cannot have official practices. 

“Me and my teammates are just lifting every day and then we’re going to start swimming probably in about a month,” Smith said. “We’re all taking about a month out of the pool just to recover.” 

Looking back on his first year as head coach, Cvetich considers himself extremely lucky saying that it is truly his dream job. Before going into coaching, he was a music teacher for five years but did not find the fulfillment he does now. 

“Honestly, this is my dream job and what I want to be doing. I’m thrilled to be here…to finish the first year is almost surreal,” Cvetich said.

The young and upcoming team will start practices for next season in early to mid-September and their first meet will be around the end of October.