THE MEGAPHONE

Swimmers and divers ready to defend City title

Prelims are Dec. 14 at Tech, with finals the next day

Junior Sophie Mernitz, warming up for a meet last year, will participate in the one-meter dive in the City meet Dec. 14 and Dec. 15 at Arsenal Tech. “It is an opportunity to find weaknesses in my diving and try to improve from them,” she said.

Caroline Steiger

Junior Sophie Mernitz, warming up for a meet last year, will participate in the one-meter dive in the City meet Dec. 14 and Dec. 15 at Arsenal Tech. “It is an opportunity to find weaknesses in my diving and try to improve from them,” she said.

Annika Garwood, Sports Editor

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The men’s and women’s swimming and diving team is looking to repeat their titles as City champions, with the meet scheduled for Dec. 14 and Dec. 15 at Arsenal Tech. 

Along with returning valuable swimmers and key divers, Head Coach Ms. Ashley Hill provides some insight on what the key components are to winning another City championship. 

Because the team has many returning swimmers from last year’s championship squad, Hill said the team’s routine from last year to this year has been pretty much the same. “Our practices have not changed that much from last year. For the most part we are focused on the same things. This year’s team is training at a faster pace than last years.”

Asked in an emailed interview about the pressure defending a title that swimmers might experience going into the meet, Hill said the team doesn’t focus on that feeling but just goes out and swims its best. 

“I don’t think we feel pressure to defend our title. I think we go into each meet with the focus on attacking each race, focusing on walls and underwaters, and supporting one another; the title is a byproduct of these aspects.”

For swimming and diving, City is one of the first meets the team competes in. “The City tournament falls early in our season (and) it is a great opportunity to check in to see how fast we are swimming, and how well we are competing with those teams around us. We see many of the City teams later in season and having a good showing at city definitely helps our confidence going forward.” Hill said Cardinal Ritter will give the team a good race because of its many versatile swimmers. 

Overall, the team is well supported by a group of motivated upperclassmen. Specifically, Hill said a strength of the team is the work ethic of each of the athletes and the support they have for each other. “As (for) weaknesses,” Hill said, “at this point it would be a fairly inexperienced boys’ team and a few key injuries on the women’s team.”

Senior Jack Hutchens is a member of the team’s leadership council. Although a lineup has not been released for the  City meet, Hutchens said he will compete in the 500 free and a few others in swimming and the one-meter springboard for diving. 

Hutchens said in an online interview that his favorite thing about the City tournament is “being able to spend time with my swim family and all of the friends I have been lucky enough to meet from the other schools competing.” He said he is nervous for the meet because entering in the competition has “tremendous pressure but is a great honor to be a part of.”

In the email, Hutchens said he was not the fastest swimmer in the races but will focus on having a positive mindset and on the details of his strokes. He said he hopes that his teammates will try their best and “leave it all out on the pool” during the championship. 

Junior diver Sophie Mernitz will compete in the City tournament for the women’s diving team and according to Hill has “a very good chance at winning the city title in diving.” 

Mernitz said in an emailed interview that the City tournament is the first 11-dive meet of the season, so “it’s really fun getting to experience 11 different dives. In high school divers only compete one meter, so I will be competing (on) the one-meter (board).”

Although the meet is a challenging one, Mernitz said she isn’t nervous for it. “I do not get more nervous for City. Although it is considered a bigger meet, it is no different than any other meet. It is an opportunity to find weaknesses in my diving, and try to improve from them. The mindset is ‘trust your training.’ Although it is easy to focus on what could go wrong, it is important to remember the preparation put into the best possible outcome.” 

Leaders are important, and Mernitz said supporting fellow team members is the main goal for City. “I think as teammates it is important to be there for each other whether that means cheering or being a shoulder to lean on. I hope we can all have fun and try not to be too hard on ourselves.”

 

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About the Writer
Annika Garwood, Reporter

I play year round softball with my high school and travel team, and in my free time I love to read and write young adult fiction.

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