A Feature on Lake Shore’s Boys Varsity Swim Team 

February 7, 2020

The Boys Varsity Swim Team is made up of ten boys, all ranging from freshmen to seniors. There are also two managers and a student intern aiding for a student with special needs on the team, which has really come together and formed a family. The swimmers all have nicknames for each other and make a hard practice enjoyable, not only themselves but for he onlookers, as well.

The team dynamic doesn’t stop there, as the coaches are actual brothers! Sean Kunkle, also known simply as “Kunkle,” is the head coach and a physical education teacher at Anthony J. Schmidt. Jeff Kunkle, also known as “Brother Jeff,” works for the town of Cheektowaga. during the fall season and coaches the West Seneca West girls swim team. 

The boys have many different ways to make practice fun, various reasons why they joined the swim team this season, and multiple favorite memories from past and present seasons. Senior Tyler Smith stated that his favorite memory is “playing tricks with the boys.” He is trying to enjoy the time left with his friends before everyone leaves for college. Sophomore Casey Taylor’s favorite memory is “making it to sectionals.” This was a big accomplishment for Casey and he is proud of himself for making it there. Senior Gavin Mendell stated his favorite memory is, “Diving with Coach I.” Coach Ignatowski taught Gavin everything he knows about diving and he will “cherish it forever.” Senior Cameron Stacey has stated his favorite memory is “doing a trick shot with a frisbee.”.He had thrown the frisbee the entire length of the pool and then it bounced off of Tyler S and landed in the flipper box. All of the students have their own favorite memories from the many great times they have had while being on the swim team.

Some student swimmers also have specific reasons why they joined the team this season. Freshman Josh Merrit stated he joined the swim team because, “he has been swimming from the age of 6 with a private teacher and has loved it ever since.” Josh competes for a club league on the weekends and has no plans of stopping anytime soon. Freshman Tyler Pruchnicki joined the team “ to make friends and to become a diver.” Tyler is the newest diver to the team and is enjoying learning all the new skills. Sophomore Robert Zuidema joined the  team last season because, “he enjoys swimming and it is fun.” Robert may seem shy but he comes out of his shell more and more every practice. Michael Nowak loves to swim and looks forward to it everyday. He likes the competitions and using flippers. The swim team has done a lot for these students, whether it be making friends or just becoming better swimmers. 

There are a handful of kids that make sure practice is always fun for them and others. Freshman Carter Sterner makes practice fun by “ having belly flopping contests against his teammates.” They have these contests at the end of every practice and they do sound like they hurt. Everyone gets a great laugh out of watching them. Freshman William Engler makes his practices fun by “ not listening.” He pretty much creates his own practices while following the guidelines given for that day. He may get yelled at for it but he still finds that makes practice a lot more fun. There is a lively bunch of kids within this team and every day it’s something new; it makes the practices even better. 

There are two managers on the team currently: Sheridan Henry and Autumn Pruchniki. Autumn’s favorite part about working with the team is “making sure Gavin always does his warmup.”Gavin likes to skip some of the warmup to catch up with the team, Autumn enjoys timing Gavin and telling him “you’re not done yet.” It makes Gavin work harder and makes Autumn laugh. Sheridan’s favorite part about being with the team is “everything.” All the tasks she is given she completes and enjoys doing it. There is never a dull moment. There is always something going on. 

    Jeff and Sean Kunkle both have families of their own and they dedicate a lot of time to the swim team. They run practices from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday thru Friday, and have practices from 9:00 am to 11:00 am on Saturdays. There are a lot of reasons why coach Sean Kunkle loves coaching. He stated, “he likes helping kids improve in the pool and out of the pool.” He has seen kids’ attitudes improve overall with hard work and dedication and enjoys being with them.  Jeff Kunkle loves coaching because, “I get to teach kids a sport I am passionate about.” He gets to learn there are different ways to teach athletes and not all athletes are the same. The coaches not only love to coach but are dedicated to coaching students. The boys compete every Tuesday and Friday. Wish them luck at their next meet. Go Eagles! 


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