Friendship vaults competitiveness (and fun) for De Pere’s Swiekatowski, Opichka

At a dozen feet above the ground, the world is a blur.

On firm ground though, De Pere’s Kylie Swiekatowski and Shae Opichka have a clearer grasp on their pole vaulting fundamentals. As teammates they share a unique bond. These Red Birds are classmates, friends and also the top two vaulters in the entire state of Wisconsin.

“I like having her by my side and as you can tell today, we definitely goof around during practice,” Swiekatowski said. “But it also helps keep us serious because we know there’s competition so we both push each other the whole time.”

“It’s fun to have her. We are friends and we do push each other but having her as a teammate is an advantage,” Opichka continued. “I see her good day, I see her bad days so I know what she’s capable of, she knows what I’m capable of.”

Swiekatowski is the reigning champion in the event, but both participants broke the Fox River Classic Conference record by surpassing 12-feet-6-inches at the meet last week. The friendship vaults their competitiveness – and it’s more fun that way.


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