Boiling Springs coach Matt Brenner’s booming voice can still be heard pool side during Bubblers swim meets.
His familiar shouts of “Let’s go” echo throughout natatoriums around the Mid-Penn. It’s something that never changes.
However, one thing has changed at Boiling Springs: the Bubblers’ squad is different than any in recent memory.
Gone is the star power of Dylan Knaub, Billy Webber and Peter Greenbaum, three standouts that graduated the past two springs.
Yet, what remains is a crew of hard-working swimmers on both the boys and girls teams, that rely on depth to gain points during dual meets.
Now in his 12th season at the helm, Brenner said he’s had similar teams, but perhaps not across the board at the same time.
“It’s interesting because we don’t have anybody that really stands out,” he said. “Every different set at practice, it’s who is going to step up that day? That set?
“It’s a good thing, and it’s also kind of a curse. Sometimes it’s a case of, ‘I need somebody to step up today.’ The good thing is more often than not, they are stepping up.”
Tuesday’s away meet against Trinity was the perfect example of the new-look Bubblers.
The Shamrocks won all but one race, yet Boiling Springs took enough second-, third- and fourth-place finishes to capture the boys’ meet. On the girls’ side, Trinity won all but one race, and the meet, but the Bubblers’ depth kept the score close.
Senior Zach Orris has seen the change take place after the 2017 graduation of Greenbaum and Webber, who is swimming at West Point. Orris knows it’s up to the team to forge ahead.
“I think it’s just pushing each other in practice. I think we have a lot more depth than last year,” he said. “It definitely does feel a little different because Billy and Peter would win every race.”
Orris added that he and his teammates are working harder to compensate for those losses.
“It feels like we are working together. Everybody contributes to meets. It’s not one big star winning all the races,” he said.
Brenner said that while he is the same coach as always, he has to remember some subtle differences.
“This year you have got to be more patient and nurture that a little bit. We’ve been trying to do that, especially with the younger kids,” he said. “You realize it is not going to be an overnight, or even a week-long process. That’s the cool thing about swimming, sooner or later, if you put the work in you are going to get there.”
Plus, the team can still learn from the departed leaders.
“I think they’ve seen the results the last couple of years and what they need to do to get there,” Brenner said. “Some of them are freshmen and sophomores, so in a year or two down the road, you have the potential, what do you want to do with it?
“It’s cool to see some of them working towards those goals. It might not be this year, but maybe next year they will see that result they want.”
Of course, the coach is quick to add that patience works both ways, especially with younger swimmers.
“Swimming is a sport that it’s a progression and you don’t see that pay off till later,” Brenner added. “I know the kids can get discouraged, but the pay-off is going to be there. They’ve been working hard for it. That’s what swimming is all about.”