New routine prevents injuries for girls' swimming

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Nina Kaplan” align=”alignright” width=”271″] Senior Niki Lew, a captain with senior Katie Wu competes in backstroke.

by Jay Feinstein

Injuries are an inevitable part of almost every sports season.

However, additional workouts with volunteer coach Jen Brickey, led girls’ swimming and diving, 5-4, to a season with fewer injuries than the team has seen in many years, according to coach Kirsten Tuohy.

“It affects the team in a positive way because more people can swim and do dry land during practice,” she said. “We have already seen times come down.”

Brickley’s workouts, which team members attend every Saturday at Fusion in Newtonville, focus on improving movement and strength.

“She worked with Ms. Baugher’s softball and field hockey players during the summer, and she wanted to keep working with high school athletes,” she said. “She’s very good and even eliminated my chronic back pain. I hope many team members continue to work with her throughout the year.”

Despite being a young team, the Tigers have a winning record, and Tuesday, the team defeated Weymouth in a competitive home meet 87-75, according to Tuohy.

Tuohy put many swimmers in events they do not normally swim at the meet, but the Tigers were able to place first in all 12 events.

“We don’t have quite as many current swimmers who can swim multiple events as we did last year, but we do have strong swimmers in every event,” she said.

Specifically, 50 freestyle and JV breaststroke were very strong, she said. Standouts included sophomore Helen Culici, who achieved a sectional qualifying time in the 200 individual medley and senior Nina Kaplan, who placed first in the 500 freestyle.

[media-credit name=”Nina Kaplan” align=”alignleft” width=”297″] Members of fan group 46th man cheer for girls’ swimming and diving.

Members of a new fan group, dubbing themselves “46th Man,” attended the meet, hoping to boost team morale, according to junior Jesse Metzger, who organizes the fans.

The group “provides much-deserved support for the girls’ swim team, which unfortunately doesn’t always get much more than the occasional over enthusiastic parent in terms of wild, crazy fans, unlike basketball or football,” he said.

“Our thinking is that every team that works as hard as they do deserves at least a few devoted fans and some comic relief during intense meet.”

The group has attended all of the team’s home meets this season and plans to continue to do so for the rest of the season, he said.

Next for the Tigers is a home meet Monday against Needham and a meet on the road against Norwood Tuesday.

According to Tuohy, both meets will be challenging.
“Needham is very strong, its only loss being Framingham,” she said. “Norwood will be difficult because the team is 20 percent male. It made a big difference last year and will this year, as well.”
With fewer injuries this year, and the support of 46th man, the Tigers hope to do well in both meets, she said.