Pushing your body through unforgiving water, making sure every motion is perfect, and trying relentlessly to break records is just a few things that swimmers have to do time after time. The Lebanon High School Swim Team went to conference last Monday to compete in finals and the previous Thursday for preliminaries. By the end of the competition, Girls had placed 2ndand Boys brought in 3rdplace.
The swimmers knew that they would need to swim fast races against Crawfordsville, who the Lebanon swim team has been neck-and-neck with all throughout season. Under the direction of new swim coach Craig Howe, the swimmers were ready for a fresh new outlook in taking on the challenge.
Sophomore Morgan Lawson admitted that the year had been so eventful that it began to seem hectic. The numerous amount of changes made the season unpredictable, which took a mental toll on the team. Despite this, though, Lawson said that she was proud of the whole team’s positive attitude during competition. Lawson herself almost made it to a state relay and broke a varsity record by a mere .01 seconds.
“Everyone was cheering each other on, which is kind of strange for us. We usually are all in each other’s heads. Everyone was behind lanes and had such a positive attitude going into finals,” said Lawson.
Sophomore Summer Stogsdill admitted that she was nervous before both competitions. She said she had placed third and got best time in her main event, the breast stroke. Even with all of the weight and pressure put on the team to win, Stogsdill said that Coach Howe’s new methods helped to ease said pressure.
“I think we performed really well, especially with a new coach this year and transitioning into different ways that we trained. Given our circumstances, I think we definitely came together as a team,” Stogsdill said.
One of these methods utilized before competition was meditation, which calmed the team down and made a drastic difference by the time the pressure was at its pinnacle. Sophomore JC Reese said this made all the difference for him.
“We meditated the whole week before, and I think it really helped everybody. It calmed us down and eased our nerves, so it was really good that we had that opportunity,” Reese said.
Issues with weather caused finals to be pushed back many days after its original scheduled date, which caused the anticipation for the competition to build even more. Although the swimmers weren’t prepared for this, Reese said that it all ended up working out for them.
“I definitely feel like I did a lot better than I did last year. I improved on times all around. Due to timing I think prelims went a lot better for everyone, but finals ended up just as well, so it wasn’t bad. Everybody swam amazing,” Reese said.
Senior Austin Orr helped the boys capture 3rdplace in competition by winning the 500 free relay. He admitted that his nerves were at their peak during preliminaries, but by the time finals took place, the feeling wore down and he was ready to compete.
“I swam the 200 free and I felt like I could have done better, but then I won the event for the 500 and I couldn’t believe it, I was very happy about that one,” Orr said.
Orr is confident that the team will thrive in sectionals in the coming weeks.
“I feel like this was a good meet to go into sectionals with since we know what we did bad on. In the weeks leading up to sectionals we can work on those things and get a lot better,”
Sophomore Lauren Gascho brought the girls to their victorious 2ndplace spot by winning 1stin the 100-meter backstroke. She said that throughout both preliminaries and finals that she was confident in both herself and her teammates, and she knew that they could come out on top in the end. She said that the way the team dealt with stress levels really helped her, and Coach Howe’s approach on the mental state of the players made a positive difference in the way the team performed.
“I knew that conference was going to be a close race, but I knew that I had it, and that the whole team did as well,” said Gascho.
Each of the swimmers recognized that although there were struggles in the build-up to conference, overcoming them made the team closer and brought them together when it was time to compete. The team is sure that their conference prepared them for sectionals, and they are excited to see how they perform, individually and as a whole.