Making the laps count: swim and dive prepares for championship season


Photo courtesy of David Meisel

Sophomore Madeleine Simmons swims the 200 Individual Medley (IM) at the meet against Wootton. Senior captain Sienna Karp won this even with a time of 2:06.09 and Simmons came in second with a time of 2:07.28.

The University of Maryland houses one of the most important meets of the season for the Aquacats: the 4A Maryland State Championship. The Aquacats will return to this pool on Feb. 24 with the hopes of bringing home the state title. The girls are reigning state champions and currently have a 5-0 record, while the boys are 1-4.

To begin the season, the team competed against BCC on Dec. 10. Strong performances were shown by both the boys’ and girls’ sides. The girls won 114-72, while the boys won 98-88. Sophomore Madeleine Simmons won the 200 and 500 freestyle. Simmons was also a part of the 400 freestyle relay that came in first along with sophomore Lauren Levine and freshmen Zoe McGee and Ashley Ahyick-Wong. Senior captain Theo Dietrich won the 100 backstroke and 400 freestyle relay along with freshmen Dain Phillips and Taiyo Murphy and senior Caelan Fulton.

The girls put a second tally in the win column against Whitman on Dec. 17 with a score of 110-76, while the boys fell short, 124-62. Senior captain Maren Conze won the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle and was a part of the first place 400 freestyle relay with Ahyick-Wong, Levine and freshman Anne Mulkey. Freshman Sarp Ustundag won the 500 freestyle by .32 of a second with a time of 5:02.57.

At the third meet of the season, the Aquacats competed against Wootton on Jan. 7 where the girls 200 medley relay set a new team record with a time of 1:46.15. The relay was swam by Conze, senior captain Sienna Karp, Simmons and junior captain Healey Morgan.

“We went a really good time considering it was a dual meet. I know that with some fine tuning we can be even faster at the important upcoming meets,” Simmons said.

The Aquacats swam against Blair on Jan. 14 and Churchill on Jan. 21, after Wootton. The girls won both meets and the boys lost both.

The last meet of the regular season will be on Jan. 28 against BCC. Along with the goal of beating the Barons, WJ will be celebrating their seniors at this meet.

“I think our season has been going amazing. Our team chemistry has never been better, we plan events at least once a meet and do fun themes at school before our meets. We also make sure that the new freshmen feel included just as much as the captains. We’ve had some great performances from everyone on the team so I am super excited to see how we perform in the postseason,” Dietrich said.

The swim team’s championship season begins on Feb. 4 at Divisionals. After Divisonals, the Aquacats hope to place high on the podium at Metros which is Feb. 8-11.

I think if we focus on what we can control and swim our own races then I think we will be able to be right around teams like Stone Ridge at Metros.

— Madeleine Simmons

The last meet leading up to states will be Regionals on Feb. 16 and 18.

“To win back to back states would be amazing for the team. I am super excited to see what these next meets, divisionals, regionals and states hold for the team. If we win that would be a great way to close out my senior year. This team works really hard in and out of WJ practice so it would mean all of our hard work paid off. Even if we don’t win, I’m still incredibly proud of the amazing swims, dives and personal bests that have been happening at pretty much every single meet and I want to make sure that everyone has the same incredible WJSD experience that I had,” senior captain Matti Harvey said.