Overcast
78°FOvercastFull Forecast

Phelan: Geneva coach Keyzer wins award against all odds

Published: Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 2)

As a member of the swim team at Geneva High School, I am not technically a member of a swim team. Instead, I am one of just more than a dozen girls who form the “club.”

Why are we a club and not a team? Without the pool, the money to build a pool, or an adequate place to practice, we can only have swim practice two or three times a week. This would leave us at a major disadvantage with girls from other teams, who have 11 or 12 practices per week. In order to stay in shape, most swimmers stay on their non-high school, or “club,” teams during the high school season. Therefore, to comply with IHSA regulations, we cannot be listed as an official team, or we would have to miss the majority of our workouts.

This description might make us sound like a group of mangy, unorganized, over-chlorinated girls without any sense of unity. But that would be wrong. We’re a team; we swim like a team, cheer like a team, and eat like a team. And we owe it all to one woman – Mary Keyzer, social studies teacher and the-one-and-only swim coach of the Geneva Vikings Swim Team.

We love Mrs. Mary Keyzer, or Coach K, as we call her. She’s organized Geneva swimming from a few girls who met at the pool for sectionals each year, to a real team, with – however few – real practices. She’s managed to book us pool space at West Chicago High School, get us recognition in the Upstate Eight, and has even manage to get Coach of the Year recognition by her fellow sectional coaches.

Last time she was voted Coach of the Year, she was unable to accept her prize, being barred from the race on the premise that she was not a “real coach.” But after all the “real coaches” saw us perform at sectionals, and how much Keyzer was involved in our positive and cheering attitude, they gave it to her. Mary Keyzer is now the 2012 Coach of the Year, as awarded by other professional swim coaches and her swimmers – we gave her our own award at our pre-sectionals pasta party.

She is a wonderful woman who gives up her time for a handful of girls who eat too many carbs and talk too much in kick sets. We love Keyzer, and we love our mermaids – her daughters who occasionally come along to swim practice with us. My freshman year I so wished that I could swim at a school with a pool, reputable program and team of coaches, but as my fellow seniors and I wrap up our final season together, we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

As one of our teammates said, “We don’t have a pool, but we have a Keyzer.”

• Courtney Phelan is a senior at Geneva High School. She is an outgoing and energetic young writer who likes to swim, read and participate in general teenage activities. She can be contacted at editorial@kcchronicle.com. As a member of the swim team at Geneva High School, I am not technically a member of a swim team. Instead, I am one of just more than a dozen girls who form the “club.”

Why are we a club and not a team? Without the pool, the money to build a pool, or an adequate place to practice, we can only have swim practice two or three times a week. This would leave us at a major disadvantage with girls from other teams, who have 11 or 12 practices per week. In order to stay in shape, most swimmers stay on their non-high school, or “club,” teams during the high school season. Therefore, to comply with IHSA regulations, we cannot be listed as an official team, or we would have to miss the majority of our workouts.

This description might make us sound like a group of mangy, unorganized, over-chlorinated girls without any sense of unity. But that would be wrong. We’re a team; we swim like a team, cheer like a team, and eat like a team. And we owe it all to one woman – Mary Keyzer, social studies teacher and the-one-and-only swim coach of the Geneva Vikings Swim Team.

We love Mrs. Mary Keyzer, or Coach K, as we call her. She’s organized Geneva swimming from a few girls who met at the pool for sectionals each year, to a real team, with – however few – real practices. She’s managed to book us pool space at West Chicago High School, get us recognition in the Upstate Eight, and has even managed to get Coach of the Year recognition by her fellow sectional coaches.

Last time she was voted Coach of the Year, she was unable to accept her prize, being barred from the race on the premise that she was not a “real coach.” But after all the “real coaches” saw us perform at sectionals, and how much Keyzer was involved in our positive and cheering attitude, they gave it to her. Mary Keyzer is now the 2012 Coach of the Year, as awarded by other professional swim coaches and her swimmers – we gave her our own award at our pre-sectionals pasta party.

She is a wonderful woman who gives up her time for a handful of girls who eat too many carbs and talk too much in kick sets. We love Keyzer, and we love our mermaids – her daughters who occasionally come along to swim practice with us. My freshman year I so wished that I could swim at a school with a pool, reputable program and team of coaches, but as my fellow seniors and I wrap up our final season together, we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

As one of our teammates said, “We don’t have a pool, but we have a Keyzer.”

• Courtney Phelan is a senior at Geneva High School. She is an outgoing and energetic young writer who likes to swim, read and participate in general teenage activities. She can be contacted at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

Previous Page|1|2|3|Next Page

Get breaking and town-specific news sent to your phone. Sign up for text alerts from the Kane County Chronicle.

Watch Now

Player embeded on all Kane County Chronicle instances for analytics purposes.

Ed Golden talks Batavia football

More videos »