Girls swim and dive team wins thirteenth state title

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Ella Mercer

The girls swim and dive team parades around school after returning home with the school’s thirteenth state title. “There is not just one person who won state for us like scoring all the points,” senior Claire Lynn said. “Each person had to do well in every single event to get enough points in order to win state, so we each just had to support each other and cheer for each event because we each are equally important. We went out there and did our best.”

The last time girls swim and dive won state was 2011. That championship drought ended Feb. 21 at the St. Peters Rec-Plex as the swim team won first out of 46 schools for a state title.

The team claimed its thirteenth state title, a state record, without any swimmers placing first in any of the 12 events during the two-day tournament.

“I went first since diving was the night before, so I was the first person to score points for our team and set the stage for the next day. It felt really good because I had my teammates there who were cheering me on [and diving] really sets the pace for how the rest of the meet is going to go,” senior Claire Lynn said. “Not all schools have divers, so when we can get points for diving, it really helps give us a boost right from the start so we can go out there and put the rest of the points on the board.”

Though the majority of the events were individual, freshman Campbell Murawski knew that that the team would need to set aside any differences they had to accomplish a goal they all aspired for. 

“We all had to focus on celebrating [for] each other and cheering each other on because we had a really hard second day,” Murawski said. “Everyone kept dropping places, and we were supposed to win. For a long time, it looked like we weren’t going to win, so everyone was getting angry at each other. We all had to put that aside and cheer each other on and not place blame on each other.”

For a long time, it looked like we weren’t going to win, so everyone was getting angry at each other. We all had to put that aside and cheer each other on and not place blame on each other,”

— freshman Campbell Murawski

Lynn believed that the pressure was amplified on the team, but especially for those swimming in the 200 medley relay.

“That’s always an intense race because it came down to that relay, so everyone was holding their breath. There was a bunch of excitement from the crowd,” Lynn said. “I can’t imagine the amount of pressure that was on the relayers themselves, but we were all just screaming and it was really exciting.”

Senior and relay swimmer Lily Stiegemeyer knew the relay was not just for her individual accomplishments but was for the team to recognize that they had accomplished this together.

“I think one thing we talked about it in the team room before we went out is that we didn’t want to think about the relays for ourselves, we wanted to think about it for our team,” Stiegemeyer said. “When we did it for our team, I think it put a little less pressure on it, and I think we were all ready and excited to get in and swim.”

Even though the team dropped places before the relay, they didn’t lose hope in their chance of winning. Since day one, Lynn was confident in the team’s capabilities and continued to encourage the team.

“I always thought that we could [win],” Lynn said. “When I did the math ahead of time, I knew that if we all did exactly what we could, we would end up on top, but most people did not have the same faith I did.”

Craig Berry
Raising their trophy in the air, the girls swim and dive team gather around in a circle to celebrate their victory.

Lynn credits part of their success to the coaches that were there for the team every step of the way.

“Our coaches, I think, are very important because, at the beginning of the day, they all gave us a pep talk and really brought us all together as a team one final time,” Lynn said. “They’ve been there supporting us since the beginning of the season, and it was through them that we were able to have the right workouts to prep us for state.”

Head coach Coleen Sumner believes that strategically placing certain swimmers to events allowed the team to be more well-rounded as a whole and score enough points to win. 

“We just spread out our swimmers so we can place the highest at state,” Sumner said. “Even if it wasn’t their favorite event, we had to put them where the team needed them, not what they loved to swim. Because of that, we won. It’s what the team needed.”

Although the team is losing six swimmers after graduation, Sumner believes the future is still bright for the upcoming season.

“We’re losing some very strong contributors and hopefully gaining some. We have a young team, [but] we are also very deep,” Sumner said. “The goal would be to keep training and see what we can do moving forward.”