Prior to the beginning of the season, it looked like Hazel Park’s girls swim program was in trouble.
Coach Geri Fuhr only had six swimmers on the roster and was informed that if she couldn’t increase that number to at least 10, the boys and girls would likely be consolidated to form one team.
Fuhr believed that was not in the best interest of the program, and instead of merely hoping that the situation would correct itself, she decided to take action. She began a recruiting campaign, which, among other strategies, included asking students registering for classes if they would like to be a part of the swim team.
The results of her proactive recruiting efforts proved to be fruitful, as the roster increased from six to 20, which is double the amount of girls she needed to keep the swim program intact.
Fuhr had no plans of letting the program’s future be put in jeopardy without a fight.
“My passion in life has always been teaching and coaching,” she said. “Whatever team it is, whatever classroom setting it is, my thing is, I always give a hundred percent, because that’s what you should do. When I was in high school, I played four sports, and I know how much that helped shape who I am as a person, and to take that away is, to me, almost unconscionable. Whatever it was going to take is what it was going to take. I think sports are awesome for kids in a school setting.
“I would stand at the registration line, and every kid that walked in that was a girl, I said, ‘Do you want to swim’? I actually got a drum major (Lauren Smith) to come out. She’s a senior this year, a great kid, and one of my best swimmers.”
One of the primary benefactors of Fuhr’s fight for the survival of the girls’ swim program could be Katrina Kendzierski. Fuhr believes she may have a shot at swimming for a college program, and a consolidated team could have negatively impacted her chances. Kendzierski and Hannah Korzenborn are both four-year swimmers for Hazel Park, and Fuhr appreciates the efforts her senior captains have given her.
“Katrina Kendzierski’s a very polished swimmer,” she said. “She swims all the strokes; she does all the IM. I can put her in any event, and she’ll be able to do it and do it well — very versatile. (She is) a good role model and leader. Hannah is a disciplined swimmer. She does the 500 for us. In races, she will really push herself. She’s very determined to finish whatever she starts in regards to each race.”
Having survived consolidation, Fuhr is ready to move the program forward. The Vikings currently have three juniors, three sophomores and eight freshmen on the roster. Fuhr hopes to grow the team even more, to help aid her in her goal of building a solid future for the swim program.
“I do have some really nice kids coming up,” she said. “The young talent’s that coming up will help develop the program. The younger kids that are coming up are hard working. Some are very talented, and they’re developing quickly. Some are already good, and they’re going to help build a good program for us.”