Girls Swimming and Diving takes third in state

Hard work pays off as NTGSD claims high state ranking

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Girls Swimming and Diving takes third in state

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The New Trier girls swimming and diving team placed third overall at the state meet at Evanston High School on Nov. 16-17.
This was the highest NTGSD has placed in two years. They took third behind Neuqua Valley (first place) and Rosary (second place).

“I am very pleased, and I am very proud of this group’s accomplishments,” explained coach Robert Guy, “but I’m excited for what’s next with this group as well.”

One of the highlights of the state meet was how well the freshman girls placed. Going into state, freshman Kaelyn Gridley took first place in the 100 meter breaststroke and was one of the members of the 200-medley relay team at the Glenbrook North championship meet, which preceded state.

Gridley swam in three events at state: 100 breaststroke, 200 medley relay and 200 free relay, and won the state championship in the breaststroke, finishing fastest in team history

With strong finishes from different age groups, it was clear that their preparation leading up to the meet was successful.

“Going into state, we taper for 1-2 weeks before hand,” senior Ceola Halloran, who participated in the 500 meter, explained. For the swim and dive team, tapering means they ease up on their hard work to reduce the high levels of anxiety and stress before an important meet.

“We cut our morning practices to get more sleep, we do less yardage, and our lifting is less of weights and more of stretching and rolling out,” continued Halloran. “[In the pool], we spend a lot more time sprinting or doing pace, and working on little things like our starts, turns, and finishes so we can perfect the little things that make a big difference come sectionals and state,” she said.

The girls placed fifth overall last year, and improved on that finish in 2018.

“We all want to improve individually, but we support each other with their success and pick each other up if we don’t reach our goal,” said senior Carly Jennings.

Gridley, who was one of the youngest girls to swim at state for NT, was calm and content going into her races.

“I’ve gone to stressful meets like state before so I prepared the same way I have for other meets,” she said. Suffice it to say, she knew what she was doing.

Before leaping off the block, the nerves intensified for most. Senior Kasey Venn, who swam the 200 medley relay, 200 and 100 breaststroke, explained,

“Usually cheering for everyone else helps me kind of forget about my own race to keep me from over thinking everything. State is perfect for that because there’s never a moment you can’t cheer for someone. “

For every girl on the team, this is not their first rodeo of stressful meets. Many of them have swam several years for club teams.

“Being in the high school season was so much different than anything I’ve ever done before,” said Gridley
The team bonded in and out of practices, they became very close as friends and has teammates.

“The week before the meet to calm the teams nerves, we get mani-pedis, we have a state dinner at our coaches house, and we get spray tans. These have been traditions for so many years, they’re so much fun, and really bring the team together and keep us relaxed,” explained Halloran.

As the seniors transition into college, and some continue their swimming career there, it is clear that state was a great note for the girls to end on.

“I’m going to miss swimming the most out of everything when I go to college, because I’ve made my best friends on this team,” concluded Venn, “and I don’t know what I’d do or where I’d be without them.”

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