Sarah Haase and Jack Conger have seen plenty of each other over the past year.
The two swim together year-round for Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club and at Good Counsel, where they combined for four individual wins at Metros en route to All-Met honors this winter. Both also headed to Ireland as part of the NCSA All-Star team in the spring.
And if they didn’t know each other well enough through all of that, they’ll get a chance to learn more this summer.
The All-Met standouts, considered two of the top swimmers in the region, both swim and coach together at Flower Valley in Division A of the Montgomery County Swim League.
“We did it last year and it was a lot of fun,” Conger (15) said. “I like working with her a lot, we get along really well and it’s just a lot of fun coaching the kids as best we can. She’s really good at a different stroke than I am and we combine our knowledge of all the strokes and teach the kids. We always have a good time.”
It’s a rare combination for one community pool to house two All-Met swimmers, especially two that have made such a big impression early in their careers.
As a freshman, Conger broke two Metros records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, an accomplishment that may never have occurred before in the meet’s history. The 16-year old Haase, meanwhile, is a two-time All-Met who broke a Metros record this year in the 200-yard individual medley and nearly knocked off her sister Colleen Haase’s record in the 100 breastroke.
Despite those accomplishments, the two say it matters little to the younger swimmers they teach.
“I think they have a sense or idea.,” Conger said. “But they don’t need to. I just love having hanging out with the kids, coaching them and having a good time.”
For many of the area’s top swimmers, summer league is an opportunity to have fun and enjoy a team experience. With much of the focus during the club season set on individual times and goals, taking part in summer league is a welcome chance to put attention elsewhere.
Haase said it’s also an important chance to give back to the same place where she first found her passion for the sport.
“Flower Valley is so much fun and it’s the whole reason I started swimming winter swim and club swim with RMSC,” she said. “It just had a huge impact on my entire swim commitment. Without Flower Valley I wouldn’t have started swimming year round in the first place, it was so much fun and I wanted to keep doing it.”
Conger agreed, saying that he has also been able to use his experience with Rockville-Montgomery to better his skills as a coach with the eight-and-under group.
“I take part of my warm-up and let the little kids try to do it,” he said. “Since I did it that day I can teach them and express what to do because I just learned it from my coach. I love doing that.”
And even with all the time they’ve spent together, both Conger and Haase laughed when asked if they had started to get on each other’s nerves.
“We really haven’t for all the time we spent together,” Haase said. “We’re very close and are good friends.”