Swimming races to first place finish

Girls swimming wins against Niles North in one of their last meets

Alyssa Pak

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On Oct. 20, the girls swimming team faced Niles North, ending up with a final score of 131-39. During the meet, the lighthearted atmosphere allowed swimmers to do their best, and teammates got the opportunity to swim off events.

Junior Katherine Lasonde also explained how most of the girls were swimming off events, which contributed to the lighter atmosphere. “However, it also meant we had to work extra hard to beat other teams,” said Lasonde. Lasonde also noted that the Niles North pool is really clean and beautiful, which made swimming her events more exciting.

Similarly, junior Addy Hillerbrand stated that when meets such as this one are less intense, the team isn’t as nervous for their races; as a result, they are a little more relaxed and funny, so much so that she said that “The biggest challenge for us was trying to stay focused because it wasn’t a very competitive meet,” she said.

Senior Olivia Lantry, a member of the leadership council, the equivalent of a team captain, said, “I usually swim the 100 breaststroke and the 50 free. But at the meet on Friday I swam the 500 free and all 3 relays.”

“It’s also hard to keep up energy and stay positive throughout a 4 hour meet, but cheering with team mates helps a lot,” said Lasonde. She noted that were lots of Hawaiian luau decorations since it was the Niles North senior night, but that made the meet go on longer, and the girls were already tired.

Lantry agreed that the girls seemed to be a little more tired than usual, and Hillerbrand elaborated, saying how “swimming the best we could was a challenge because this past week was very intense in term of practices both in and out of the water and we were all pretty sore.” Nevertheless, because of the less competitive atmosphere, some girls still got to swim in events that they usually aren’t in before season ends.

Unlike many other sports, the team wakes up early to practice three days a week from 5:45-7:45 in the morning, and then convene again later in the day from 3:40-5:30 where they will do longer aerobic sets, threshold sets, and long kicking sets.

Despite their fatigue, the swimmers still raced fast at the meet. “A lot of girls swam some season best times, which was very exciting. It was also cool to see people doing really well in events they wouldn’t normally swim,” said senior Sophie Girgenti, another member of the leadership council.

Sophomore Kristin Engelking said that she was motivated to swim fast in the 100 breast. “Carly Jennings and I were racing and we were trying to beat the girl who got firs, so we both dropped a lot of time.”

Hillerbrand also acknowledged Jennings’ outstanding performance in the same event. “She swam the 100 breast with me for the first time this season and went a lifetime best, impressing herself and the rest of the team.”

Girgenti explained that Niles North is a good team, but New Trier is very deep. “This means that we had flexibility in our lineup. So it was a chance for us to swim in events other than our three or four best events that we swim every week.”

While Hillerbrand doesn’t normally swim breaststroke, she was excited to get to swim in an off event. “I usually get really nervous before my events, but I was pretty relaxed for my races on Friday even though I gained time in all of them. I didn’t really swim that well because I’ve been kind of sick for the past couple days,” she said.

According to the girls, despite their tiredness, they came together at the end of the meet to finish off the Friday on a nice note. “My favorite part about the meet was that they played pump-up music during the 400 freestyle at the end of the meet. I have never experienced that before, so it was very surprising, but it ended the meet in a really fun, positive way,” said Girgenti.

Freshman Anna Werts stated that the relays were her favorite part of the meet because everyone always gets super pumped up for them. “A good moment was when everyone at the end of the meet got up and cheered for our last relay,” said Lantry.

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