Swim team travels from Regionals to States


Sophomores Julia Cogdill and Konner Brewer embrace Seniors Shae Timmons and Margret Shumake after getting a thrid place at States

Swimming State series is, in one word: exciting. Swimmers who have trained hard all year finally get a break and start tapering, coaches start stressing about stats and times, parents begin volunteering to bring breakfast and snacks for the meet. Everyone involved has this feeling of teamwork and adrenaline. Academy of the Holy Names’ swimming season has been successful so far, with no losses and a win against our rivals at Plant High School. Now the attention turns to Region and State-wide competitions.

Class 2A-Region 3 for Academy was hosted at the Long Center in Clearwater, a move from the North Shore Pool in St. Petersburg that has hosted for three year straight. Still, this move turned out to be an advantage for the swimmers.

The protectively covered pool served to shelter the swimmers from the dropping temperatures. Another change in Regionals was the timed finals approach, which is having only one session instead of a morning preliminary session and an evening finals session.

Julia Cogdill, junior, comments on this change saying, “Only swimming in the morning is really nice because you only have to swim once and only have to focus on one race; but you don’t have the advantage of having another chance to get a better time or make States.”

The pressure was on the girls, not only to make the State team, but to also win the most points at Regionals, giving them the title of regional champions once again. Although the stakes were high, the girls started the meet unconcerned, joking in the warm up lane and singing behind the starting blocks. The first race set the speed of the rest of the meet for Academy: fast. The 200 medley relay won their first race by a major lead. The rest of the day was filled with more wins and fast swims.

Even though the trophy seemed already within their hands, the girls kept their goggles in the game and finished the meet with a trophy and 557 points total. This was Academy’s fourth consecutive win at Regionals.

States in and of itself is a whole different animal. Once again, the Academy swimmers had a change in pools from last year. The YMCA pool in Orlando typically hosts States, but, this year, an amusement park in Stuart graciously offered to house States. Despite the change and the longer three hour bus ride to Stuart, the girls had a positive attitude when arriving Friday and looked forward to the rest of the weekend.

After a quick warm up on Friday and warm greetings to friends on opposing swim teams, the swimmers had a rushed dinner and headed back to the hotel to shave down. Shaving down at States is a tradition for both the Academy and Jesuit swimmers. Although most of the swimmers shaved their legs for Regionals, shaving for States consists of shaving ones legs, arms, back, shoulders, and, for the boys, head. After shaving, the swimmers hit the sack early.

The next morning begins the official State competition. Despite the early warm ups, a light drizzle, and a chilly wind, most of the girls had a successful morning, with 8 girls qualifying for finals and all three relays qualifying in the top eight. With hopes high, the swimmers spent the rest of the afternoon resting for finals.

Finally, the girls reached the ultimate competition in high school swimming: States finals. With this, they also earned the title of State finalists joining a group of elite athletes, some of whom are Olympic hopefuls.

Even those who do not make finals are important to the team. Towel buddies help the swimmers in finals combat the persistent chill that slips through the cracks of layers of towels, sweatshirts, and even parkas. Everyone does their part to help the team run as one machine. In the end, the team as whole finished third with many personal best times and records broken.

Shae Timmons broke her own 100 breastroke high school record and got third place in the event. Alex Nuyianes broke the 200 IM school record and participated in breaking the 200 medley relay school record with Julia Cogdill, Shae Timmons, and Olivia Kirpatrick. Both the 200 medley and the 200 freestyle relay gained bronze medals, adding to Academy’s third place finish in points.

After a hard day full of racing, the swimmers were finally able to relax and enjoy the rest of their weekend before another long drive home. For the Senior swimmers, this marks the end of a successful but bitter end to a fantastic last year.

This is the first year Academy swimming has had an undefeated season and it has been a long time since they have gotten top three in States.

While Academy swimming will be losing a few “top horses” as Coach Bill Schaffer calls his best swimmers, the future of the team looks bright. The team has many young swimmers who have proved themselves important additions to the team.

Although this is the end of another great season, Academy swimmers and all their fans can look back with pride and look forward with hope.