Girls Swimming and Diving Finished Season out of State Tournament


Caroline Brown

Members of JV swimming compete at Mercer.

Overcoming the difficulties presented by a decrease in numbers has been central to the girls swim team in the ‘14 season.

“I think it’s been a good season, we have all been having a lot of fun. It got rough when a couple of our girls quit but in the end it helped the team to come together and improve,” team captain Annie Hartley ’15 said.

The team lost three key swimmers this year: Elizabeth Brown, Taylor Pajunen, and Alayna McCafferty. The girls were a part of their medley relay that went to state last year with a time of 1:58:55. The team is currently trying to recruit from Southeast Jr. High as well as girls from West Branch and Solon.

“We are so small compared to the other teams,” captain Naftalia Flatte ’15 said. “We now have 13 swimmers total and face other schools that have at least 40 swimmers. It makes it so much more difficult to do well at meets.”

The girls also started the season with a new coach, Zane Hugo, a breaststroke specialist and former four year swimmer for the Hawkeyes. Hugo also coached at the Mason City swim club, Black Hawk area swim club, and was an assistant coach with UNI for two years.

“Our coach is great. He is always on time, has a good attitude even with everything that has happened this season, and most of us really like him,” captain Alix Sharp ’16 said.

Hugo replaced Ivan Sanchez as the girl’s swim team coach this year. Sanchez had been the coach for four years.

“He has a completely different coaching style compared to Sanchez, but he works on different things that we were falling behind in like turns and starts which is a very good change,” Flatte said.

The team has been working hard towards qualifying for state, with ten practices a week, roughly 15 hours of training.The varsity girls are focused on preparing for Regionals, the state qualifier meet, which takes place on November 1st.

“We all hope to qualify but it’s very difficult. We are working our hardest individually but qualifying times are fast,” Hartley said.

Only the fastest 24 times are counted towards qualification in the state meet.

“Our hope for the team in the future is to have as many girls as possible, have a good environment, and to build the team back up to where it used to be,” Sharp said.