CHISHOLM — Being the smallest swimming program in the state, the Chisholm High School boys swimming team has to work hard and have a lot of heart.
That’s the best way to describe the 2021 edition of the Bluestreaks, who will open the season next Thursday at Mesabi East.
Chisholm coach Don Quirk only has six swimmers from the 10th-grade on up, but that won’t deter the Bluestreaks from competing as hard as they can.
“We kind of like to take the identity of the little-engine-that-could,” Quirk said. “We’ll stay positive and try to reach some goals. We’re hoping there will be a state meet. If we can get anybody to qualify for state, that’s a huge accomplishment for us.
“We can also try to take some records off our board. We’ll see how close we can come.”
One of those record holders is senior Bay Yukich, who now owns the 60 and 100 freestyle records for Chisholm.
“Everybody on this team is proud of somebody when they break a team or pool record,” Quirk said. “It’s an exciting accomplishment. It’s rewarding when they put in the work, then get to those types of levels.”
Yukich is joined on the team by fellow seniors Kilen Klimek and Zach Quirk.
Their workloads are still undetermined.
“We’ll piece it together, but they will have to do a little bit of everything,” Quirk said. “It’s a different year in a lot of ways, different because of COVID protocols, with only dual meets and wearing masks. They’re good kids. They’re hard workers.
“They will do what we need them to do. We need to push them, but that’s a fine line to me just because of the limited numbers we have. We have to make it fun, too. They need to keep a good attitude. They’re willing to work. That’s why they’re a pleasure to coach.”
There’s two juniors, Carson Howard and Nathan Wangensteen, but they’re only in their second year of swimming.
“They’re working hard, but it’s a tough sport to join so late,” Quirk said. “They’re game to try things and work hard.”
There’s one sophomore, Mason Chuk, then Quirk has around nine swimmers in the junior high.
With that, what roles they will have on the team is still up in the air.
“That is stuff we’re trying to figure out,” Quirk said. “We’re weighing out the work with the rewards. We’re be experimenting all year. We’re making the best out of a bad time.”