by Sophia Yonezuka
“If you are not in the pool, you had better be on deck cheering on your teammates.”
This protocol became crucial and a key ingredient for success for the RFH swim team. This 2010 season, many swim team members felt that they became much stronger, and they were not talking physically. The ultimate swimmer is not only measured by hard work and what takes place in the pool, but also by his complete dedication to the team.
Senior captain Maria Ottaviano described her feelings toward the school’s swim team: “Our team’s performance this season was one I am very proud of. We accomplished a lot this season as individuals but most importantly as a team. We came a long way from the beginning of the season to its end.”
This sentiment was echoed throughout the team, and positively effected students of all ages.
“I feel like we have a strong sense of being a team and we have a lot of spirit to cheer on,” sophomore Amy Nixon commented.
The RFH swim team has been a “winning team” for several years, holding, maintaining, and breaking several school and Shore Conference records and developing a reputation as strong competitors. Although this success has increased the stakes among these competitive swimmers, it also helped to motivate the team.
After competing against Red Bank Catholic, Ocean, and Manasquan the team was ranked 4th in Monmouth County. However, some tough fights lay ahead, and with districts such as Wall, Freehold, and Middletown South ahead, there was no easy competition in sight. These meets tend to be close and intense, often coming down to the last relays. However, the swim team did not fold under pressure–they rose to the challenge.
“I always have high expectations for our teams and this year they did not disappoint,” boys’ swim coach, Meghan Jones, commented.
According to Jones, Manasquan was the most difficult meet this season, due to absences among key swimmers. In contrast, Ottaviano believes that the state meet against Ocean was the toughest because this school presents the biggest competitors.
Within every team there are strengths and weaknesses. Knowing a competitor’s drawbacks and advantages is the key to victory. But what is it about the RFH swim team that makes it stand out?
“Our strengths include strong leadership from our upperclassmen swimmers, versatility of our club swimmers, and the willingness of all team members to fill in where needed. I think the team would benefit from having more swimmers take advantage of the opportunity to swim outside of the winter season.” Jones said.
A team can only become stronger if the athletes’ performances are more than stellar. This means that each swimmer must always reflect on their individual growth, and their personal contributions to the team. However, a healthy competitive hunger does not hurt, either. Nixon commented that since she has met her personal goals, she plans to improve her time even more for next year.
“Every swimmer impacts the team in their own way, and I feel I have,” says Nixon.
The entire team felt proud and accomplished about this year’s season. Overall, they have shown exceptional growth and improvement, accompanied by some unforgettable wins and defeats along the way.
“Both teams had their up’s and down’s over the course of the season. However, both seasons ended on a high note with the girls making it to the second round of the state tournament and the boys winning their last regular season dual meet.” Jones said about each team’s performance.
“We tried our best and got a lot further than we have in the past.” Nixon agreed enthusiastically.
RFH is anxious and eager to see what next season brings. With seniors graduating and the promise of new freshman, new talents will evolve.
“I think the girls’ team has a great shot at winning our conference next year. I would like to see the boys’ team grow in numbers.” Jones says.
Nixon states with confidence, “We will have to try hard, but I think we can do as well, if not better than, we did this year.”