Swimming to victory


For many sports, COVID-19 has adversely affected their performance. But one in particular, has overcome many obstacles, and managed to have a very successful season. 

     The GlenOak Swim Team has gone through some big changes this year and has adapted to this new set of challenges. 

      “We’ve trained only three days a week this season, which has dealt a blow to our late-season performance. Our facility has been in construction since last Spring. Regardless of our limitations, we’ve still been able to put up some respectable finishes in our Section,”  Head Swim Coach Zachary Hawkins said. 

      The team has had to wake up for 5am practices, had limited practices, and have not even been able to practice at their regular practice pool. They have also had to deal with COVID restrictions.

     On top of all of this, last year the swim team graduated a considerable amount of talented swimmers. 

     “In the last two seasons, we’ve graduated eight state qualifiers, four school record holders, the second fastest girl ever in the school, and second fastest boy ever in the school,” Hawkins said,

     “But with no home pool, with 60 percent of a normal practice schedule, and with Covid restrictions, we’ve still gotten 10 people to qualify to the District competition; one step from the state meet. I would argue that it demonstrates that the team is fundamentally effective, just young.”

     Despite the challenges the team has had to face, the girls’ team had junior Emma Peterson, sophomore Kate Wiesbrod, and freshman Anna Perticarini qualify to the District Meet in the 50m freestyle sprint. 

     The boys had sophomore Blayne Mauer qualify in the 100m butterfly, as well as senior Spencer Rich and sophomore Layne Studer qualify in the 50m freestyle sprint.

     The team as a whole had five out of six possible relays qualify, and also had many swimmers beat their records. 

     “My postseason was good. I had two events at sectionals and swam personal records in each. I swam the 50 and 100-yard freestyles at sectionals this year, which was a distance drop for last year, but it went well. They were my best swims all year,” sophomore Jacob Harms said. 

      When looking at the grand scheme of things, the swim team had a good season this year but is looking forward to a season without so many obstacles in their way. 

     “I think the biggest struggle this postseason was not being as ready as we would have in a normal season. Without our normal practices, we weren’t as strong or fast as we should’ve been,”  Junior Emma Peterson said.

      Peterson hopes to qualify to state in the 200 free relays next year and was one of the many district qualifiers this season. 

      “I am looking forward to having access to 5 practices, at our home facility, every week. I’m looking forward to having a God willing, a normal season without Covid restrictions. I’m looking forward to bringing life back to the team camaraderie aspect of the sport.” Hawkins said. “I want the team to enjoy this again, and I’m looking forward to helping to make that happen,” 

     Next year the team will still be seeking to send several swimmers to the state tournament. And hopefully, they will be able to do so without COVID-19 in their way. 

     One swimmer in particular is giving the young team a lot of hope for a successful season next year. Freshman Anna Perticarini is a young prospect in the realm of Glenoak Swimming. 

     Anna swims the 50 free with a PR of 25.10 and the 100 free with a PR of 55.70. She was one of two freshmen girls who qualified to sectionals this year along with Gennie Dimmerling. 

“We need more people! And especially to work on getting faster! This team is so kind and uplifting for each other, and they’re just overall great people, but as a swimmer I see we need to become faster as a group and grow stronger.” Perticarini said

     Young swimmers like Gennie and Anna are who will make the team continue to get faster and grow. But they are not an excuse for the rest of the team to stop working hard. There is always room for improvement. 

      “In a sport like swimming, there’s always seconds to drop. Once we’re back in the pool five days a week I hope to just keep practicing hard and take off more time,” Harms said. 

     Next year the team is looking forward to more practice time, and hopefully having a closer team environment. But ultimately the Glenoak Swim Team will keep working hard to go as far as they can into the postseason.