The locker room floors are wet. The goggles and swim caps are tight. An alternative to successfully completing your event is drowning. Swimming and diving don’t seem to be the most luxurious sports, however, as I spoke with athletes about the season, they all assured me that it was a great one full of incredible memories and accomplishments far-outweighing the difficulties.
This February, Lovett’s swim and dive team made it to state once again, racking up some great achievements; According to Sophomore Mina Deribal, “the girls all did really well--way better than last year--and this year was a lot more fun as a whole.”
Proving Mina’s point, the state swimmers finished 7th overall for girls 1A-3A and 22nd overall for boys, and the girls took 9th, 9th, and 7th on the 4x50 freestyle relay, the 4x100 freestyle relay, and 4x100 freestyle relay, respectively.
Swimmers also excelled individually, with Cameron Colavito taking 30th in 50m freestyle and Avery Bargeron taking both 5th in the 200m freestyle and 2nd in the 100m butterfly--both of which broke school records. Avery admitted that, for her, “State is one of the best times every season because you just get to see all of your work pay off.” In diving, Harrison Clifton finished 6th and Elke Gill finished 10th.
The process of getting to state began months before. The swimming team told me about their long afternoon practices, covering up to 6,300 meters in one practice, according to Mary Katherine Schmersal. “It was the day before the ice thing so [Coach Morris] made practice extra difficult,” she explained. “It went an hour over practice, so everyone who didn’t drive could leave on time and so I was the only girl left who swam the whole 6,300.” Others who compete with outside organizations, like Mina Deribal and Avery, didn’t often attend the Lovett practices, but trained intensely nearly every day nonetheless.
The divers also explained their training process, citing morning practice at 5:30, practice after school, and weekend dive clinics. “It’s a pretty big commitment, but honestly the morning practices are a lot of fun,” said Elizabeth Hunter, “and we all get really close each year.”
Outside of grueling practice, both swimmers and divers said that the season has been really fun, and they’ve made a lot of great memories. “Athens was probably my favorite memory,” said Cameron, earning nods of agreement from Mary Katherine, Avery, and Mina.
“We left on Friday to compete in Athens and just hung out Friday night in Athens, and then on Saturday we saw the UGA versus Alabama gymnastics meet, and then we had the swim meet the next day,” said Mina. “Also, we ended up buying a ton of UGA merch!” Cameron added.
Though everyone bonded as teammates, the athletes also mentioned their coaches and how vital they were to their successes this year. “Coach Morris gives really good pep talks,” said Mina, “and he really cares about each of the swimmers.” Avery agreed, saying that “he coaches to everyone individually which is nice.” As for diving, Elizabeth said that “Coach Roberts is so funny, she makes the whole team so much fun. Also, she just cares about all of us so much, like even on our worst days she’s really supportive.”
So, though Lovett’s swimming and diving season has come to an end, for most of the athletes, their training will start back up soon enough with summer swim team or year-round practices. “Yeah, we sort of never stop swimming,” said Cameron, “but it’s the only way to get better. We were way better this year, so, hopefully next year we’ll be our best yet.”