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Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

Swim and dive balances winning meets with team spirit

Co-Head+Coach+Kevin+Fisher+huddles+with+the+team+at+the+Whitman+meet+on+Jan.+8+where+the+girls+clinched+a+98-88+victory+and+the+boys+won+107-78.
Photo by Gurnoor Sodhi
Co-Head Coach Kevin Fisher huddles with the team at the Whitman meet on Jan. 8 where the girls clinched a 98-88 victory and the boys won 107-78.

Returning to the pool as Division One and County Champions, swim and dive aims to maintain their titles, but their overarching goal of the season is to make memories, have fun and build a strong community.

Competing this season against Poolesville, Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Walter Johnson and Whitman, the team went up against Quince Orchard on Jan. 15 (still awaiting results), marking the halfway point in the regular season. The boys have started off this season with a 2-1 record losing only to Whitman 98-88. The girls haven’t been able to kick off this season with as much success, with a 1-2 record losing to Walter Johnson 130-51 and Bethesda-Chevy Chase 98-88.

As the five regular season dual meets wrap up, the team heads into the divisional meet, which determines the county champions. The team then moves on to Metros, which is regarded by the team as the most exciting and fun meet of the year. “Metros is the pinnacle of high school swimming,” Co-Head Coach Patrick Winters said.

Closing out the championship season the team heads to regionals and then states. Last year at states the boys finished third and the girls fourth: only the top two teams earned the podium. While focusing on team commitment and spirit, the coaches also aim to reach the state podium and earn state titles.

Maintaining a balance between winning meets and building a community is a struggle. Athletes such as juniors Ryan Gerstenzang, Andrew Zhang, sophomore Bella Monarez and seniors Ashton Sun and Sachin Biljani are recognized by Winters for their team spirit. Though captain Amy Qin believes “anyone who is constantly cheering or uplifting swimmers are the ones who make the biggest impact on the team”.

Battling against rivals Churchill, Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Walter Johnson, the team not only needs team spirit but fast swims and high-scoring dives to earn the victories. Captain Parker Zhang recognizes sophomore Isabel Tang and Alex Akli as the team’s two best divers. With the loss of key senior swimmers last year, Co-Head Coach Kevin Fisher highlights seniors Sun, Jason Li and junior Tyler Coapstick for taking the lead of the boys’ team. Heading up the girls’ team are seniors Qin, Campbell Scofield and sophomore Anna Nishniadize who “should contend for state titles in their individual events,” Winters said.

The team has a roster of 77 athletes composed of swimmers and divers ranging from athletes planning to continue their athletic careers in college, to athletes just learning to swim and dive. The large number of swimmers and divers can make a tight-knit community hard to achieve, though Winters urges the importance of team spirit and commitment to the success of the athletes in the pool. Qin and Parker Zhang “help bring the energy to the team,” Fisher said.

Team spirit, commitment and energy remain a central theme around swim and dive. Whether it’s the captain’s tradition of hosting socials, dressing up for school on Fridays, going out for lunch after meets, or the positive and supportive coaching staff, the team always works toward becoming a tighter community. The competitive environment encourages athletes to cheer each other on because “there isn’t a better feeling than seeing your teammates’ outtouch swimmers from other schools after screaming your lungs out,” Qin said.

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Emory Scofield, news editor
Sophomore Emory Scofield is a news editor in her second year at Common Sense.  In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, playing lacrosse, biking, reading, and spending time with friends. She hopes you consider joining the Common Sense team!
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