by Keegan McMahon ’21
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams are keeping pace in the pool as they approach the middle of the season; they are led by senior captains Thomas Betts and Ellis Winfree and junior captain Esha Shrivastav. The boys have their minds set on winning New Englands with a record of 5-1 while the girls hope to better their scores and improve on working together with a record of 0-5.
The Wyverns have many important meets this year but thus far the KO Invitational has been their most competitive. The boys team grabbed the invitational win with a full score of 195 points.
“The most important meet for me so far was the KO invitational,” Betts said. “It is great to host so many schools at once and have lots of competition.”
The KO Invitational encourages the boys team to be part of past traditions. “The invitational is very important for us because the younger kids on the team are able to learn the atmosphere of what championships are like,” sophomore Eden Nenshati said. The Wyverns competed in many events that day and came in first in the 50 meter freestyle, 100 yard underwater relay, and the diving events.
The boys team then headed to Florida for a winter holiday training period. “Florida is a time where we are pushed to our limit,” Nenshati said. The team has hard practices and everyone on the team tries their hardest to work on the small details to better their skills.
They fly, swim, sleep, walk, and eat together over a week period. “Florida is a great place for team bonding, and we had secret santa and got to go to Disney,” sophomore Walter Kraus said. Additionally, the team sleeps four to a room, so whether they like it or not, they get to know each other quite well.
The team then jumped back into the pool against Northfield Mount Hermon and sneaked away with the win with a score of 95-85. They started the day off with a win in the 200 medley led by junior Ben Zamstein, junior Jamie Amell, Winfree, and freshman Zeno Chen. The team also took first place in the diving events, the 200 IM, 100 free, and the 100 butterfly.
The team worked hard together and the following week shut down Avon Old Farms, winning by 11 points, 96-85.
Standout performances of the day were junior Nick Traver who finished first in the 200 meter free and the 100 meter free. Zamstein took an early lead in the 400 meter free, finishing first while Winfree swept away another first place finish in the 50 meter free. The team then traveled to Suffield Academy where the Wyverns came out with another win.
All these wins are results of hardwork and dedication in all of the practices. “In practice, we have been working on building good habits and improving fitness levels,” Betts said.
Head Coach Alex Kraus explained that practices are designed to cycle through all exercises pertinent to swimming and diving. They have certain practices dedicated to techniques, strokes, and isolation of certain body parts including the arms, biceps, triceps, kicking, heart and lungs, and endurance.
The team has many strengths throughout each event and each practice. “In the water or out of the water, we all have our different strengths,” Walter Kraus said.
The team also has many versatile swimmers who may specialize in certain events but can swim in almost any other event. The team is willing to work hard and gets pumped before every game together. All members of the team are compatible with one another and bring a level of enthusiasm which is sustained through the entirety of each meet. “The older kids tend to teach the less comfortable kids and everyone has really great sportsmanship,” Coach Kraus said.
The girls team is short in numbers as they do not have many swimmers, but they make up in their spirit as they always cheer one another on. The girls’ record does not reflect the amount of hard work they put in each day at practice.
Although the girls team have yet to win a meet, they continue to devote themselves to working hard each day in their pursuit of their first victory.
The KO Invitational was a learning experience and despite placing sixth in the meet, the team refused to give up. The girls swam consistently throughout the afternoon with newcomers competing in events they had never tried. The afternoon was deemed a success after the small Wyvern team became closer and realized what they needed to work on.
The next two meets resulted in losses against Northfield Mount Hermon School and Suffield, but the Wyverns endured and proved that it took more than a couple of losses to beat down their spirits.
The individual meets are an accumulation of small victories focused on gradual improvement with the end goal being to put all their training towards a good show in Founders and New Englands.
Head Coach Kata Baker said that the goals for this year’s swimmers are to always push themselves to go a distance longer and to achieve their best times. The swimmers worked hard and focused on supporting and staying close with fellow teammates. “This is a rebuilding year, so our goals are to make everyone more comfortable,” Coach Baker said.
There are only 10 swimmers on the girls team so they are still trying to work together and find their more comfortable events. “The team’s goals this year are simply to keep working on getting better as individual swimmers and to get closer to our teammates,” Shrivastav said. The girls are focused on growing and developing as swimmers.
To accomplish these goals, the team has to work hard in every practice and push themselves to become better. Coach Baker pointed out that this is the middle of the year which means that fatigue rises, and they have to push through the tougher days.
Coach Baker takes notes during meets so she can focus on the specifics during practice. The team does a lot of drill work, but this is also the fun part of the year because they usually have a meet every Wednesday and Saturday.
The team’s strengths lie in their ability to be close with one another and to always communicate with one another.
“Everyone is always ready to work hard and get better, and is always encouraging and supportive of other swimmers’ goals,” Shrivastav said. All swimmers on the team are very versatile and many can swim freestyle but also have the ability to compete in a relay or long distance race.
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams have their next away meet on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 3:15 against Saint George’s School.