KO swimming, diving splashes way through Founders League

Sports

The boys and girls swimming and diving teams both ended their season on a strong note at New Englands on Saturday, March 2.

The boys came in fifth. Senior Captain Ellis Winfree broke KO’s school record in the 50-freestyle and won the event at New Englands’ with a time of 21.79 seconds.

The  girls came in eighth, and several swimmers made finals. Junior Cai Kuvuila made it to the 100 free finals and shaved four seconds off of her Founder’s time. Sophomore Risha Ranjan also managed to shave 10 seconds off her 500 free time from Founder’s. Freshman Allie Wildstein set personal records in her finals performances in the 500 free and 100 backstroke.   

Before New Englands’, both the girls and boys teams traveled to Kent School on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The girls fought hard but were not able to pull out with a win. They ended with a score of 93-80. The boys did their best, but unfortunately lost 93-87.

Both teams swam in the Founders League Championships on Wednesday, Feb. 20 and Saturday, Feb. 23.

Coach Baker said that the strength of the girls team is their youth because the team only has one senior and two juniors, which means that the younger girls have the opportunity to lead and create long lasting bonds.

“There is also a lot of versatility within the team,” Coach Baker said. “Some swimmers can swim a bunch of different events.”

Head Coach Alex Kraus said that the strength of the boys team is that they are hardworking and cohesive. He said that they are willing to try new things. “The team has great energy, and everyone is really supportive,” junior Nick Traver said.

Coach Baker said that the team hopes to have more swimmers and continue to build the program. She said that she would love to have more breaststrokers. “It is hard to swim competitively in a meet with only 12 girls because depth matters,” Coach Baker said.

Coach Kraus said that the swimmers, especially the younger ones, have gained a lot of competitive experience as the season progressed.

He also mentioned how the team is much smaller and younger from past teams. The team has graduated nine seniors from last year and needed to fill many empty spots and people had to learn new things. “The team is not as experienced as last year’s team, but we have come a long way,” junior Jamie Amell said.

The boys team has formed a really close bond. Traver said that the swimmers even bleached their hair in unity to get ready for the competition season and show their team bond.

He said that the team is built of energy and does better when the team supports one another. “We formed a close bond as we spend a lot of time training together,” junior Marwynn Somridhivej said.

Coach Kraus also mentioned that some standout swimmers on the team included: Winfree in sprints and butterfly, eighth-grader Elias Brandt in diving and Amell and Traver.

Both teams eagerly looked forward to the championship meets. They have worked tirelessly to prepare for the tournament in order to be prepared for the great competition.

“It is an exciting time of the season because everyone has done their training and now can go faster than before,” Coach Kraus said.

The boys swimming and diving team has won New Englands the past three years and before the tournament Coach Kraus said that he had high hopes again for the competition this season. “I hope that everyone can get best times and finish strong on Saturday,” Coach Kraus said, “We hope to finish in the top five.”

Winfree said the team competed very well was able to accomplish that goal. “We had a lot of good swims and best times,” he said. “It was also very emotional because we are such a small and close-knit team.”

The girls swimming and diving team had similar goals going into the competition. “My goal is that everyone finishes feeling proud of their time,” Coach Baker said.

Senior Captain Tom Betts said that the team was very memorable this year and everyone is really supportive of each other. He said that a memorable moment this season was the team’s 100×100 practice.

“Despite the bad air quality at UHart and the difficult nature of the workout, it was a great practice because I really saw how far everyone had come in their season,” Betts said.

Betts said that the team has great spirit and the swimmers push each other to improve. “My takeaway from this season is that winning meets does not determine a successful season,” Betts said. “It sounds cliche, but spending time with your teammates and seeing everyone improve is far more important than beating other teams.”