Underclassmen named boys swim team captains

As the 2022 boys’ swim season came to an end, two juniors announced to the team they wouldn’t be returning for their senior year. This gave current junior Earl Mueller and sophomore  Abram Wall the opportunity to be named captains. Now for the 2023  swim season, Mueller and Wall lead the team together as underclassmen. 

The naming of the captains  entails a tradition that’s been in the program for a few years now. Wall had the privilege of watching  the passing down of the captain role during his freshman year and was excited to be named captain and participate in the tradition himself this year. Wall was, however, saddened to see the upcoming seniors quit before they graduated. 

“The myth that’s been passed down is that some guys from the swim meet were coming back and they stopped and found this stuffed ugly rat,” Wall said. “It’s not pretty. It’s on the road and they picked it up and then passed that down to the juniors that were going to be seniors next year that they thought should be captain. The seniors that year cut off a piece of their hair and put it inside the rat. Unfortunately, the rat got too full of hair so there’s a separate baggie full of hair that goes along with the rat and then it’s passed between the captains of the season. I have the rat.”

The team practices from the time school ends until 5:30 p.m. in the newly renovated pool. In a full season, the team will participate in 10 meets. Both Mueller and Wall participate in two relays and two individual events. The duo is able to help hype up the team and get excited when the team hits a special time goal.

“I’ve been swimming for a long time and I’ve always liked swimming,” Mueller said. “I knew it was going to happen because all the juniors left this year so they weren’t going to be swimming this year, I was the only sophomore. We usually split the role, and during meet days we usually split leading the warm-ups.”

The coach of the swim team has coached swim for 20 years and has been involved with the Newton High School team for nine years. Kimberly Powell is the culinary teacher at NHS but is also coaching the both the boys’ and girls’ swim teams.  The team is a smaller group this year, but includes many fresh faces, just beginning their high school swim careers. The last swim meet for this team was the state championship held at Shawnee Mission High School on Feb. 18.

“This year it’s a very small team, a lot of freshmen, which has been really good because they got super fast and good,” Powell said. “Next year they are going to be amazing, they’ve already dropped tons and tons of time, and they’ve learned a lot. Next year it will be more training and so much on skill learning. I know sometimes people are unsure about what swim entails, but I would say if you’re curious then come out and try it. It’s pretty fun, we have a really good time. If you don’t know how to swim we’ll teach you the strokes, we’ll teach you everything you need to know because if you haven’t done club up to this point you just don’t know what it is.”