Spring Grove head swimming coach Peggy Kile was ecstatic at the beginning of the season when she saw that the numbers on her girls swim team had increased dramatically. Swimming is a sport where the more swimmers you have, the greater the chance for you to win the meet.
The increased numbers for Kile resulted in a 6-2 season, one of her most enjoyable to date and one of the schools most successful seasons. In addition to its record, Spring Grove sent seven swimmers to districts, one year after not having sent any.
"The girls were excited from the very beginning of the season because of our increased numbers," Kile said. "They had a good mindset heading into every swim meet and did what they could to win and get points on the board."
One of the ways that Kile, the All-Area Girls' Swimming Coach of the Year, helped her team accumulate points in meets was to have her girls swim in a variety of events, not always their favorites.
"Some of the girls swam in a variety of events to help the team even though it wasn't always their favorite," she said. "The girls kept that focus as far as, we are a team and it enabled us to have a lot of success as a team."
Kile identifies the Dover Invitational early in the season as the point where the girls really started believing in themselves. That they had what it took to be a great team this season.
"We had only had one week of practice but from that point on they started believing that they could do it," she said. "I was very proud of every one of them. We had four girls who never swam before but they all ended up doing really well that day."
A yearly tradition that Kile does with her Spring Grove team is sitting down with them at the beginning of the season and identifying each swimmers individual goals and team goals.
"All the girls were on the same page," Kile said. "They all wanted to have a better season then they did last year. Our ultimate goal was to beat Dallastown, but we lost to them. We just had a team that was very dedicated to the program and worked hard at practice, both in and out of the pool. When you have that, you will have a lot of success."
One of the memories that Kile will carry with her from the season was a win against Red Lion. It was a win that sort of personified this year's Rockets team. Spring Grove found a way to win despite the fact they only won five of the 12 events.
"Our depth allowed us to pull out that victory," Kile said. "Our girls just kept plugging away. They always rose to the occasion."
While impressed with all of her swimmers this season, several stood out as having career seasons.
"I thought all of our girls performed pretty much as we expected them to," she said. "Abby Kling took a year of swimming for the Y off and swam for us all season and she broke our 500 free style record and took 10th place at districts. She just had an awesome season. Emma Hoffnagle also had a great season. She kind of doubted herself and didn't think she would do well, but she ended up doing great. It is those types of situations, when you see someone excel that makes it all worth it."
Spring Grove had success all season long in the relays, which Kile attributes to the unselfish attitude of the girls on the team.
"The girls were so nice," she said. "I didn't have any 'me' people on the team. They were all there for each other. No matter which group of girls I put on the relay team, they had fun working together and did very well."
Kile summarizes the season the way every coach hopes it will go.
"It was definitely one of the more fun seasons I have had coaching," she said. "It was a good season all around."