EDWARDSVILLE – Much like what WaterWorks Swim Club's swimming team had last year with Elizabeth McPherson as a coach and a swimmer, Spencer Sholl is doing this year with the Marlins.
Sholl is helping McPherson as an assistant coach with the Marlins while also swimming with the Marlins this season.
“I'm still swimming (for the Marlins) and coaching them this year,” Sholl said. “I know our team; we're trying to have a really strong team, so I'm trying to coach and swim so we can get as many points as possible.”
From the coaching side, Sholl hopes to see the Marlins' swimmers improve as the season progresses. “I want to see each of our swimmers progress and drop times throughout the year,” Sholl said. “It's not really a matter of winning any events or meets or anything like that; I want to see progression, I want to see everyone get better at the sport.
“If we get a win, that's a bonus. We want the wins, but the wins come with the progression of everybody in the sport, so it all kind of comes together.”
This season, the Marlin coaches – Sholl, McPherson and Caroline Caton – are all working together with the team as a whole instead on concentrating on specific groups or strokes. “I love it,” Sholl said of the new coaching format. “I think it's working better this year than it ever has before; each of us has something different to bring to it – not just any particular stroke, but all the strokes.
“Since we're working together, we can all kind of look at all the swimmers and help each of them individually. I think it really helps the kids too.”
McPherson is in her second year as head coach of the Marlins and having the year of experience under her belt is a big help, Sholl thinks. “Elizabeth is a great coach; it definitely helps to guide me and Caroline – I think she really helps to pull us together as a really strong team,” Sholl said. “I'm really happy with everything.”
Sholl is excited about the prospects for the Marlins from both the swimming and coaching aspects this Southwestern Illinois Swim Association season. “I'm excited about the season, both as a swimmer and a coach,” Sholl said. “It's going to be a good season. I've been coaching not just with this team, but all of last year with the (Edwardsville YMCA) Breakers team too.
“A lot of these kids I've known for a long time now; I've been coaching them since the summer of last year with the Breakers; I've seen a lot of them just grow up as swimmers and as people. Within a year, I'm starting to see a lot of progress with them and that's a big thing.”
The Marlins will take on Collinsville's Splash City team at home (with the Marlins as visiting team) at 6 p.m. Thursday before the SWISA Relays at Edwardsville's Sunset Hills takes place at 6 p.m. June 26; the Marlins' bye week comes June 29.
Feeney, 56, is a native of Granite City and graduated from Granite City South in 1978. He was a part-time writer for the old Granite City Journal from 1979-84 before attending Eastern Illinois University in Charleston,
from which he earned his BA in journalism in 1988. He has worked for newspapers in Sikeston, Mo., Rocky Mount, N.C., Seneca, S.C. and in Charleston-Mattoon. He also worked for the old St. Clair County Suburban