Not even the best comedians can deliver punch lines under water, so the St. Charles East girls swimming team takes advantage of downtime.
“We get breaks in between sets,” senior Stephanie Garvin said, “so that’s when we joke around. And when we’re at the wall.”
In a season that’s shaping up to be no laughing matter, the Saints find themselves about as giddy as a group of girls attending swim lessons with their best friends at the municipal pool.
All the better to push through training and the daily mental grind, the latter of which will only intensify as the Upstate Eight Conference (Nov. 2), sectional (Nov. 16) and state (Nov. 22 to 23) meets loom.
“It’s really hard and we’ve been doing a lot of yardage lately, but we just laugh a lot at practice and make jokes, so it’s fun,” Garvin said. “We have a good time.”
Saints coach Joe Cabel doesn’t mind, knowing veterans such as Izzie Bindseil, Shea Hoyt and Garvin know when to shift the focus from yuks to yardage.
“No doubt about it, they’re a lighthearted group,” Cabel said. “I’m the heavy heart in the group. I get on them a little bit and they listen real hard and then they giggle a little bit after I get done, so I’m not sure just how much effect I’m having. But they’re doing a great job. They’re great kids.”
The Saints have been rolling lately, winning last week’s road dual against St. Charles North a few days after finishing as runners-up to three-time defending state champion New Trier at East’s college events meet.
While the Saints are highly unlikely to pull any gags when they climb into starting position during the state series, they see no harm in a few laughs along the way.
Can being goofy really have that long a shelf life?
“Yes, definitely,” Garvin said. “It really helps us stay focused, as well, if we joke around and have fun. It makes us more excited for practice.”
Just like he planned: Speaking of shelf lives, the preseason goal sheets athletes often concoct don’t always hold up to the old time capsule.
Kaneland senior boys golfer Matt Yonkovich provided the exception Saturday, rallying from an opening-round 78 to shoot 72 at Normal’s Weibring Golf Club and finish tied for fifth in the 2A state meet at 8-over par.
Yonkovich targeted a top-five finish entering the season.
“That was kind of an interesting way to end it for him,” Knights coach Mark Meyer said.
• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @kevindruley.