Swim season off to turbulent start amid coaching, practice changes

Graphic+by+Aidan+Holmes

Graphic by Aidan Holmes

Baraka Aboul-Magd

The temporary closure of the Wilson Aquatic Center, the addition of two new coaches, three shifts in practice location, multiple schedule adjustments, and uncertainty about whether transportation would be provided have frustrated swimmers as they begin the season.

Due to Wilson’s temporary pool closure, the team was initially scheduled to practice at H.D. Woodson, but practices got moved first to Marie Reed Recreation Center and then to Takoma Park. The team will return to Wilson for practices on after the pool reopens on December 16.  

As a result of the numerous shifts in organization leading in to the season, Coach Wasserman, a special education teacher, stepped down and was replaced by Robert Scheller, father of one of the team members. Along with the new coach, junior Clair Lusk and senior Thomas Scheller have become assistant coaches. 

Some swimmers were  upset with the many changes made early in the season. “Practices got off to a late start in the season because of all the last minute changes in location, and since it’s so far away, we have to wake up earlier than we normally would have if we were practicing at Wilson,” sophomore Lucy Harllee said. 

Additionally, practices end at 7:30 am and the bus to Wilson leaves at 7:45 am, leaving little time for swimmers to change. “The bus leaving right as practice ends means we have very little time to shower, and we get to school way too early,” Harllee said.

The team was also unclear on whether or not transportation would be provided to and from practices, as coaches had to wait to hear back from the DCIAA office. Finding lane space was also a concern that Robert Scheller, the new coach, expressed in an email sent out to the team, explaining that that was a primary cause of practice location changes.

The method that the new coaches and assistants were unclear. Thomas believes increased communication would’ve been beneficial to the team. “I think the start to the season could’ve gone smoother if people communicated better—there wasn’t a lot of communication between athletic directors, coaches, teammates, and downtown DCIAA,” he said. However, he doesn’t think this hiccup will have a large impact on the team. “I don’t think these changes will affect the team that much in the long-run because we’ve gotten into a rhythm and we will be back at Wilson soon and be able to build a team that’s very competitive,” he said.