The regular season is over, but competitive swimming is still ahead for the Total Force swim team of Tomah and Sparta.

Swimmers were able continue to postseason if they qualified in the top nine at the Jan. 27-28 Divisional Meet in Chippewa Falls. Of Total Force’s 48 swimmers, 26 qualified to swim at the Feb. 3-4 Conference Championship meet in Antigo.

To further continue their swim season, 19 swimmers registered as USA swimmers for the Northern Lakes Aquatic Club under the direction of Rob Meyer. The swimmers continued to practice four nights a week at Fort McCoy with each of the Total Force coaches assisting on deck.

At the February 16-18 Wisconsin Regional Championships in Fond du Lac, the 19 swimmers were reaching for their individual best times with hopes to qualify for the Wisconsin state meet. State time standards are the hardest postseason meet to qualify for.

Two Total Force swimmers qualified to swim at the 12-and-under state meet, which was held in Brown Deer. Trent Lord, three-time previous state swimmer, qualified for three events: 50-yard backstroke, 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard backstroke. He was also chosen to swim on three NLAC relay teams to include the 200-yard medley relay, 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard medley relay. His results include: 50-yard backstroke (25th out of 55), 32.28 seconds; 100-yard backstroke (21th/37), 1:09.38; 200-yard backstroke (20th/30), 2:29.58; 200-yard freestyle felay (16th/28), 1:53.19; 200-yard medley relay (15th/26), 2:08.68; and 400-yard medley, relay (17th/24), 4:50.91.

Dawson Sherwood competed in his first ever post-season swim meet and by a mere 0.49 seconds qualified for the 12-and-under state meet in his 50-meter backstroke. Each state swimmer is eligible for a minimum of three events, which allowed Sherwood to swim the 50-yard breaststroke and 50-yard butterfly as bonus events. He was also selected to swim in the 400-yard freestyle relay. His results include: 50-yard backstroke (44th/54), 34.38 seconds; 50-yard breaststroke (47th/49), 40.01 seconds; 50-yard butterfly (48th/52), 33.31 seconds; and 400-yard freestyle relay (14th/25), 4:09.62.

Total Force swimmers are also eligible to qualify for the Midwest Regional swim meet set for the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center April 7-8. The meet allows Total Force athletes to swim against some of the best swimmers from Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. There are up to 1,300 swimmers at this two-day event. Total Force has ten qualified swimmers from this season. Of those 10, Trent Lord, Dawson Sherwood, Carl-Oskar Wilcox-Borg, Anthony Lord and Hannah Wilcox-Borg will compete. Total Force coaches offer practice to all USA registered swimmers four nights per week for 1.5 hours a night until the Midwest Regional swim meet.

Total Force is a competitive swim club serving the Tomah/Sparta area consisting of youth ages 5-18. It competes in the Central Wisconsin Swim Conference during the winter season and practices at the Rumpel Fitness Center at Fort McCoy.

There are three levels of swimmers that are divided by expectations, practice times and coaching staff:

  • The Bronze level is intended for beginning level swimmers. They practice 3-4 nights a week for one hour and are coached by Bruce Cuda and Julie Regan.
  • The Silver level is for those that have experience with swimming and are ready to compete at swim meets and advance their skills in all four strokes. They practice 3-4 nights per week for 1-1 ½ hours and are coached by Julia Koput and Patrick Larson.
  • The Gold level training group consists of swimmers that have mastered all four strokes, are dedicated to competing in several swim meets during the season and can commit to practicing 4-5 nights per week for 1½ hours. The Gold level is also coached by Julia Koput and Patrick Larson.

This season’s practice for each level began Oct. 10, 2017. Coaches have been working to incorporate a multi-faceted practice each night to include technique, strength, flexibility, endurance and confidence. The team must balance 48 swimmers within a 2.5-hour time frame and only 4 swim lanes. Even with these challenges, this season has been very successful.

All Total Force swimmers can choose to swim at any of the 11-regular season swim meets. Coaching staff is available to be on deck during these meets. Swim meets are often 1-1½ hours away and can last up to 10 hours from warm-ups to the final event. The kids and parents are staged in a gym, cafeteria or sometimes a hallway and spend much of their time bonding as a team between events.

Regular season meets started Nov. 4 at the Lakeland Invite.

Total Force is governed by seven board members who meet monthly to set goals for the program. They discuss finances, fundraising opportunities, future goals and create policies to help maintain the integrity of our organization and ensure the organization’s policies are implemented. Having a board represent Total Force allows coaching staff the sufficient time to focus on their role on deck with the swimmers.

A recent goal for Total Force is to obtain a 501©3 non-profit status, which allows the program to apply for grants from private foundations and the government, provide a tax deduction to individual donors and maintain an exemption from several federal, state and local taxes.

The program runs on a volunteer basis, including coaches and board members.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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