Swimming Through COVID-19

The City High girl’s swim team’s season gets underway despite a disruption caused by COVID-19


Jesse Hausknecht-Brown

Rika Yahashiri ’21 attempts to get the a state qualifying time in the 50 yard freestyle, in the first meet of the season.

Jesse Hausknecht-Brown, Executive Editor

The clock hits 6:15 p.m. and swimmers start to get out of the water, put their masks on, and grab their bags to drive home. It’s the last practice before school starts and the members of the City High girls swim and dive team have no idea when they will see each other again.

Laila Butler-Mills ‘21, one of the three team captains, is discouraged because she doesn’t get to have the regular experience of being a captain and a senior. 

“I guess I’d say it’s honestly kind of disappointing because I don’t get to do a lot of the things that make you a captain,” Butler-Mills said. “Especially since we haven’t had that much practice.”

The swim team’s first practice was on August 11 and their season lasted a week and a half before a member tested positive for COVID-19 and the team stopped meeting for two weeks. When that quarantine period was over, the team was able to practice and compete for another five days before school started virtually and sports teams were not allowed to meet.

“No one really knows what’s happening,” Butler-Mills said. “I’d like to be able to do more team bonding and do cheers and stuff like that, but we can’t really do that this year, which sucks.”

The team was able to go to Linn Mar for one meet on September 4, where there were many social distancing rules. City High’s team got one side of the pool and Linn Mar took the other. Because of this, when racing, City High girls were in lanes next to each other, instead of alternating between lanes with the opposing team.

Linn Mar’s varsity team scored 121 points and City High’s varsity team scored 62 points, losing by 59 points. The junior varsity lost 103-30.

“I think it’s weird when you’re not able to be right next to your competitor and trying to catch them,” Nikol Lagodzinska, the team’s assistant coach, said. “The whole dynamic is a little bit different, but we saw the opportunity to race which is good.”

Greta Stanier ‘23, a diver, felt like the diving competition wasn’t too different, but she misses the team experience. She scored 185.7 points in the diving competition at Linn Mar.

“The girls that I practice with, I don’t know them as well,” Stanier said. “Last year we got food [together] after practice and this year I haven’t really talked to the freshmen as much.”

Looking into the future, Lagodzinska is optimistic about getting the team back together again.

“I like to stay positive and whether we have [more] meets or whether there [are] just a couple practices, we’re definitely all going to be together again,” Lagodzinska said. 

[I’m] excited to have more racing opportunities and to represent City High at the state meet in the best way that I can”

— Heidi Stalkfleet

On Saturday, September 26, Heidi Stalkfleet ‘22 competed in the Cougar Invite in Cedar Rapids. She qualified for the state meet in the 100-meter butterfly, with a time of 57.65 and the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 24.84. 

“[I’m] excited to have more racing opportunities and to represent City High at the state meet in the best way that I can,” Stalkfleet said. “I am hoping to win one or both of my events at state.”

The team returned to practice the following Monday, September 28, and competed against Waterloo the next day. Varsity lost the Waterloo dual meet 106 to 80.

The team is currently working hard to qualify its swimmers for the state meet. Regionals, the meet where swimmers are able to qualify for the state meet, will be held on November 7.