SPIRIT WEEK CROWD PROPELS SWIM TEAM TO VICTORY
By Nathan Burke, Sports Editor for The Alcove student newspaper.
Following a loss to Detroit Catholic Central, the Greenhills, Father Gabriel Richard, and Whitmore Lake co-op swim team bounced back with a 103 to 80 victory against De La Salle High School.
With state competitions nearing, making cuts for events has become even more important for the swim team. While most sports have rankings and playoff brackets, swimming operates in a way that is quite different: in order to qualify for the state meet, competitors must make the cutoff time for their specific events. Those who make the cut will compete against other Division II schools in the state meet in early March.
“We are keeping our foot on the gas,” said Assistant Coach Chris Lemoine. “There is big technique work going on during practice to try and get power behind that efficiency. We do morning and afternoon school practices and focus on tweaking the little things so we can continue to swim and compete fast.”
Practice is important, but there are several outside factors that affect the success of the outcomes of meets, and sometimes that can come from unexpected sources. The Jan. 31 meet was a part of the school’s spirit week, meaning that every student in attendance gained points for their grade. With an intent to continue the spirit week winning streak of the eldest class, seniors filled the stands.
“We [the senior class] were excited to come out and support the senior class, as swim meets aren’t known for their student sections and loud atmosphere,” said Jared Ge ’23. “The turnout was awesome across the upper school and I hope other students will recognize that and continue the support in the coming years.”
With a large number of students clinging to the rope on the pool deck, the atmosphere was filled with energy and excitement as Leo Applegate ’23 and James Kluge ’23 stepped up to their block for their 200-yard and 400-yard relay race.
“It was awesome to have support from my class and the younger grades,” said Applegate. “It really got us going and gave us the extra boost we needed to make our MISCA (Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association) cut.”
The swim coaches shared the same sentiment, recognizing that a big crowd can make a difference in an important meet.
“Spirit week definitely hyped up the team, we usually don’t have full stands,” said Lemoine. “The student body was super huge and motivated us to get three distinct MISCA cuts, signifying that making state cut is definitely attainable.”
Applegate (200-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle) and Kluge (200-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle), along with FGR’s Grant Gorman (200-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle), Lucas DiGiuli (200-yard freestyle), and Alex Tishkowski (400-yard freestyle) made MISCA cuts, marking a critical step towards competing in the state meet.
“While not the state cut, MISCA cuts are still an important part of our season,” said Kluge. “It gives us a chance to swim against other schools in a competitive meet who are also trying to get close if not make the state cuts.”
There is still a way to go for many of the members of the team with hard work and difficult meets lining the path.
“Starting in the next few weeks we are going to start to taper, meaning to pull back from the yards and do more focused technique work and even less heavy lifting,” said Lemoine. “The goal in mind is to give our bodies some rest before we start to have some intense meets like conference and catholic league meets which are nearing.”
While the season is becoming a grind and every meet increases with rigor, the team shows no intention of letting up.
“We’re practicing and lifting every day,” said Applegate. “With morning and afternoon swims most days, our dedication is still going strong and isn’t going to stop anytime soon.”