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The Eagle Eye

Swim Team Heats Up For Winter Season

Coach Molly Sandling talks to swimmers during the first week of practice.

Coach Molly Sandling talks to swimmers during the first week of practice.

Caroline Larson, Staff Writer

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The Jamestown Eagles are ready to dive into the new swim season this December.  The team plans to continue their streak as one of the school’s top teams, a shining Gem in the crown of Jamestown athletics.

The women’s team, state champions for the past two years, is looking to their past successes as a precedent and driving force. Senior Margaret Williams explained, “We have the goal to repeat our state championship, [we want to] focus on our goal for states.” A strong combination of college committed seniors, experienced juniors, sophomores, and incoming freshmen compose the 2015-2016 team.

While the team looks to the past as motivation, they also look to the new swimmers to continue their success. Senior Elizabeth Folsom explained, “We’re looking for a wide variety of good swimmers in multiple events, since we have so much new talent, it’ll help out chances of being competitive at a state level.” In hopes to improve in specific events, the women plan to utilize a diverse new group, with incoming freshmen supplementing multiple stroke events, and utilizing swimmers who can swim several events.

The men’s team seeks to improve on last year’s second place state title, but the strategy planning events is familiar. The men’s team plans to keep the approach rather similar, as Senior Ben Vantasel describes, “We might move some events around, but the line-up will stay the same.” The men’s team hopes to come back strong, citing teams like Grafton as key opponents.

Last year’s state championship was a proud moment for the eagles, with the women placing first and the men finishing runner up. Sophomore Abby Larson and junior Joelle Vereb won in their individual events, along with two of the girls’ relays taking first in the 200 and 400 meter free.

Senior Colin Wright also won his individual event, the 50 meter freestyle, setting a new record.  Both teams won their regional and conference meets last year and excelled at the Kecoughtan invitational meet, with the women winning first and the men taking fifth.

In addition to the swimmers, much of the credit can go to social studies teacher and head coach Molly Sandling. Junior Taylor Watson expresses his appreciation for the coach, “She cares a lot about the sport and for every swimmer. She is excited for every achievement…no matter how big or small it is.” Sandling was selected as 2014 National Federation of State High School Association State and Mideast Regional Coach of the Year for Boys Swimming and Diving in January 2015.

Sandling began coaching early in her career, being recommended to become involved as a student teacher. “I’ve been swimming my whole life, [and] so I went with the swim team and just fell in love with coaching,” said Sandling. Her swimmers and students alike admire her for her dedication, encouraging words and organization.

Beyond the points and records, the team finds the biggest wins in each other. Even the freshmen are excited, “I`m excited for the big team dinners before the meets,” says Victoria Hardy. “It seems like a great way to hang out with the rest of the team and get psyched for the coming meet.” In the morning after practice, the team can be found at Panera or Chick-Fil-A, talking and refueling in the early hours before school. Their focus on team bonding is especially apparent in their pre-champs traditions, with the girls making green and black spirit flip-flops in preparation for champs and the boys keeping up the tradition of cutting their hair into wild styles in the post season.

With the women undefeated and the men ending with a 5-1 regular season record, the team is set up to be victorious in their upcoming season.  The first meet will be held Thursday, Dec. 10 at Hampton University against the Grafton Clippers.

 

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Swim Team Heats Up For Winter Season