Girls swimming: Racheal Bukowski, Alex St. Amour ready to lead young pack of Bulldogs
By Josh Lichtenfeld Post-Tribune correspondent November 21, 2012 8:14PM
Crown Point's Racheal Bukowski swims the 200 IM during a meet against Merrillville on Tuesday, December 13, 2011, in Crown Point. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 24, 2012 7:10AM
CROWN POINT — There’s something in the air at Crown Point swimming practices. It’s something that could be foreshadowing the near future.
“Definitely, next year, people are going to have to watch out next year,” says junior sprinter Racheal Bukowski.
Wait. Next year? What about the present?
As far as this season goes for the Bulldogs, things look about as promising as they’ve been over the past couple of seasons. But according to Bukowski and sophomore Alex St. Amour, another class of young swimmers is coming up through the ranks before the winter of 2013-14.
And given the powerful strides the underclassmen have made recently, including helping to lock up a 10th-place finish at last year’s state meet, talented varsity newcomers are always welcome.
“We’re like a younger based team,” said St. Amour, who swims the 200 IM and the 100 breast. “The underclassmen stand out a lot, you can say.”
And it’s the trend of swimmers coming out of the Crown Point Swim Club or other clubs, with a bevy of experience already, that has continued to make things interesting for both Crown Point and the region swimming scene as a whole.
Bukowski’s freshman year, she joined talented Holly Schuster — who was 14th in the 200 IM at state in 2012, swimming in 2:09.20. And last year St. Amour formed a dangerous duo with promising standout Aly Tetzloff — who was sixth in the 100 back at state, going 56.57 and eighth in the 100 fly with a time of 56.32.
Bukowski and Tetzloff were also two legs of the fifth-place 200 free relay team’s time of 1:36.41 and joined with Schuster in the 200 medley relay’s fourth-place finish in a time of 1:46.65.
“I think we’ve become part of that mix with the top three in the area,” says eight-year Crown Point and former Merrillville coach Bryon Angerman, who led his first top-10 team at the IUPUI Natatorium.
“What you’re doing (with the varsity newcomers) is you’re taking these kids and teaching them how to compete.”
Angerman openly admits that a significant part of the rise in accomplishments, including moving up three spots from the state tournament in 2011 to last year’s meet, is how sculpted his swimmers already are before donning a varsity wetsuit.
On average he says he’s receiving at least six girls annually that are ready for dual and tournament action. And his program has at least six that he feels can score in the top-tier of the state, including Bukowski and St. Amour.
“A coach at a school is very fortunate if you have one of two (girls) that are top 20,” Angerman said.
The hunger is very much evident. St. Amour, for example, wants the team to keep improving and yearns to improve upon her prelim appearance in the 100 breast in Indy last winter.
“I think, for this year, we have a lot of potential on this team and we can step it up to meet our goals,” she said.