Senior Class Leads Swim Team
Hamm Hooper, Sports Editor
December 14, 2011
Filed under Sports
As the girls swim and dive team kick-offs the season, the squad is looking to a strong senior class to lead the team.
Dartmouth bound senior Maddie Wall and senior Etinosa Ogbevoen lead the team and both hold numerous Ladue swimming records. Seniors Helen You, Jasmine Park and Clare Canepa also provide strong leadership for the younger swimmers and divers.
“The seniors have the most experience so this year they are really trying to stress team bonding,” junior Rebecca Schactman said. “In past years this has not been as strong and the seniors are already doing a good job of making sure the team is close-knit.”
Head coach Tricia Garvey, who’s in her fifth year as Ladue’s head coach, also realizes the importance of a strong senior class. As with any sport, leadership is important to the success of the team.
“Having a strong senior class is incredibly important not only because of the amount of talent and experience that they bring to the team, but also the leadership qualities that they bring,” Garvey said. “We have many new girls, some who have never swam competitively before and our juniors and seniors are making them feel comfortable and encouraged.”
With a solid senior class and a strong group of swimmers overall, the team has set itself high expectations for the upcoming season, both indvidually and as a team. The team is focusing on succeeding in the relay races.
“One of the team goals for this year is to finish in the top eight in three relays,” Ogbevoen said. “I also want to win the 50 and 100 meter free style in state.”
The team has three larger swim meets that it competes at every year; the Ladue, Lindbergh and Rockwood Summit Invitationals. Garvey has set her eye on these three meets and expects a strong finish from her team.
“For the first time, we really have depth on our team. With that depth we could possibly take a top two finish at the Ladue, Lindbergh, and Rockwood Summit invitational,” Garvey said. “I would also love to see the team finish in the top three at the Conference meet and have a strong finish at state. Of course, every swimmer/diver sets individual goals for herself, so I would love to see them all reach their individual goal.”
While swimming might seem like an individual sport, it is the opposite. The times of individual swimmers and divers all help to try and win the meet as a team.
“Even though people think it’s an individual sport, it’s a team sport because you can’t win a meet with a couple great individual swims,” Wall said. “You need the whole team to do well and with this comes a lot of cheering and standing behind your team.”
Emphasizing team goals over individual ones could have been a tall task for Garvey, but with this group of girls it has not been a problem. This year’s team has already bought into the team aspect of the sport.
“Luckily, with the amazing group of girls we have this year, focusing of the team as well as the individual performance is a big priority for everyone,” Garvey said. “They all realize that the potential for team success is there this year and that the team is going to need more than a few individuals to achieve that success. They are all making small sacrifices for the good of the team.”
The team also benefits greatly from the coach’s expertise in the technique of swimming. Both Garvey and assistant coach Hap Gentry have a wealth of knowledge in the sport and readily share with their swimmers.
“The slightest changes can make the biggest difference. In swimming every single millisecond counts,” sophomore Riley Merdinian said. “If you can just point your fingers a little more at the finish or take one less breath going into you last lap you may be able to out touch someone. Its even the little things like that they [the coaches] correct during practice that are so crucial. One of the most important thinks that Garvey has taught us is that practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes prefect.”
The girls’ team will look to get off to a perfect start on Dec. 12 as they travel to Mehlville to begin the season.