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Hampton swimming team has new coach

| Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, 8:51 p.m.
Pine Creek
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal Jake Kocsis has aspirations of attending the Naval Academy after high school.
Pine Creek
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal Kristin McKnight is a team captain and a swimmer the Hampton team will rely on this season.

With a swimming background that stems to high school, Alex Kubicek has aspirations of being able to forge a program the way he feels it should be done.

The former Pitt swimmer and college prep team coach was a football player in high school who decided to give swimming a go in high school and found he really liked it.

“I was recruited by colleges — Pitt was one of them — and I swam on some Big East-winning teams,” Kubicek said. “I wanted to be the head guy (somewhere) and run a program the way I thought it should be run. I think Hampton has a smart group (of student athletes), and I want to take them far.”

The quest to help the Talbots reach full potential begins with captains Jake Kocsis and his brother, Ben.

“Jake has shown great potential and is a Naval Academy hopeful,” Kubicek said. “Ben has shown potential, too, and they both do well with leadership.”

On the girls side, Kubicek is happy to have two more captains — Kristin McKnight and Angela Petrisko — who are strong leaders.

“I came in, and I didn't know anyone, and nobody knew me,” Kubicek said. “We instituted goal meetings with each swimmer where we talked about best two or three events and goals times and academic goals. Then we talked about how they want to get there.”

Team goals also were a part of those conversations.

“The team has to come together at the pool and in school,” he said. “We want to become a true All-American-type team. The kids have responded well to it.”

The goals may be sizeable, especially because Hampton jumped up to the Class AAA ranks this season, but Kubicek said he has several swimmers on the brink of qualifying times after eight weeks of training.

“It's nice to see the structure and the heartfelt (nature) of this team,” he said. “The past couple of years there have been different coaches, but the only way for this to work is for the coaches and swimmers find a common ground. We want to do that and stay positive in the pool and in school.”

Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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