Swimming Cougars Conquer States

Team places third overall in competition

Swimmers closed out their undefeated season with a third place finish at states. After an undefeated season, the boys went on to win regionals by one point, and girls proceeded to place fourth. With a third place finish at last year’s state tournament, the boys team had high expectations for the season, and the girls were held to the same standard.

With many seniors returning from last year’s successful squad, swimmers felt more drive to perform than ever before.

“Practices have definitely been more challenging this year,” junior Jake Heenan said. “I think that [Coach Cherie] really saw our potential and wanted to push us to be the best that we could be.”

“The hard work that we’ve put in has just made everyone so much more excited for meets each week,” junior Caitlyn Adair said. “After realizing that our teams could place well at states last year, it really just pushed us harder to succeed this year.”

Although the team finished its regular season undefeated, swimmers came up short in their bid for a state championship. The boys’ team finished in third place overall and the girls’ team placed 11th overall at the VHSL 4A State Championship Meet held at the Collegiate Swim Center in Richmond on Saturday, Feb. 17. Graduating seniors look back fondly on their time spent in the pool, even if they didn’t win a state title.

“We placed third,” senior Parker Webb said. “I really wanted to finish my high school swimming career with a state title, so it definitely didn’t go the way I wanted it to. That said, swimming was one of the best parts of my high school experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

After the team’s high placing finish last winter, swimmers were feeling the pressure at the tournament.

“I feel like the team had such high expectations for states that we all felt the pressure as a whole,” Adair said. “I think it got to us, me especially. I got caught up in the pressure a little bit and definitely didn’t do as well as I could’ve, but I’m definitely looking forward to next year.”

Even though the team didn’t place where they wanted, the swimming cougars still showed their individual swimming prowess. Several Kettle Run records fell at the fast meet including the boys’ (J. Heenan, T. Smith, G. Finan, A. Whitted) and girls’ (C. Adair, P. Talomie, E. Kerrigan, C. Sutliff) 200 Medley Relays, the girls’ (C. Adair, E. Kerrigan, M. Maranto, P. Talomie) 400 Free Relay.

Caitlyn Adair took the 50 Free and 100 Back records, Tanner Smith took the 200 Free and 100 Breast records, and Jake Heenan took the 100 Back record.

“It was super exciting,” Heenan said. “I heard the announcer say that we were ahead of the state record and then saw the time flash up below the record. It gave me goosebumps.”

“This team had great team spirit and enthusiasm,” said swim coach Cherie Adair. “They were a very determined group of athletes always wanting to be challenged.”