RB girls swim and dive team looks to improve after changing mentality


Rahim Kouferidji

Katelyn Stowe prepares to dive

Rahim Kouferidji, Story Editor

Riverside Brookfield High School’s girls’ swim and dive team competed at the York High School Invitational this past Saturday, finishing in fifth place. A theme for this season has been toughness and finishing races, and head coach Michael Laurich feels that the girls are embracing the change of culture this year.

“We’re further ahead training-wise by a significant margin than we were a year ago. They’ve really embraced the worth ethic that we hope to see in practices, so they’re a little bit more tired at this point in the season than previous years, which is good,” said Laurich, a former North Central College seven-time All-American.

Complacency is not an option, as Laurich’s goals for the girls this season were to improve their standings in their invitational meets, as well as remain on the IHSA team list for academic achievement. So far, the girls improved their spot at both their invitational and Lemont’s, and are 3-1 in dual meets.

Another change this season has been the addition of freshmen Katelyn Stowe and Devon Encher, two athletes specializing in diving this year, something that was missing last season.

The two divers are coached by Amy Phillips, who coached the boys divers for the past two seasons.

“I like diving, I’ve been doing it for a very long time, and it was one thing that I could kind of see was a little bit missing in the school even though we have the facilities. I’m excited to have the opportunity to bring it back,” said Phillips, Library Media Specialist at RB and former Division I diver at Ohio University. 

RB is Phillips’ fourth school she has coached at, and this is her first time coaching the girl divers at RB. She admires the divers’ perseverance and support of one another, but they do have things they need to improve on.

“I think they’ve done a really good job of supporting each other. Both Katelyn and Devon are good friends, and they support each other in learning new dives and working through frustrations. I think what we need to work on is [building] a little bit of a competitive edge and we need to keep working towards building up a good, competitive meet [performance],” Phillips said. 

In order to compete at the conference and sectional meets, the two need to learn 11 different dives. Stowe has already learned 11 dives and competed at the York Invitational meet this past weekend.

Encher, who was encouraged to join by Stowe, knows what she needs to improve on. 

“I just need to be more concerned with my form, and just be more ambitious,” said Encher, who started diving competitively this summer at Lyons Township High School.

Other notable swimmers include senior captains Sarah Stubbe and Claire Kawiecki, as well as sophomore Mary Izzo, who just missed qualifying for the state competition in the 100 yard backstroke last season. 

Laurich believes that the team’s solid young core will bring good competition for years to come.

“I think our freshmen class is pushing the upper-level kids, keeping everybody honest. That just makes the competition for spots at conference and sectionals that much better,” Laurich said.

The team has their next invite at Bartlett High School on October 5.