A dive to region

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A dive to region

The swim team posing in front of their good luck sign after districts.

The swim team posing in front of their good luck sign after districts.

Mike Clements

The swim team posing in front of their good luck sign after districts.

Mike Clements

Mike Clements

The swim team posing in front of their good luck sign after districts.

Camille Schweppe, Staff Reporter

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The ring doesn’t startle them anymore. It excites their muscles and triggers their jumps from the block to dive into the pool. The time rides their splashes and their bodies ache with passion. It’s rigorous, the race to the wall, the race to region and as soon as their fingertips hit the wall, they gaze up to the board and see their name. 

District preparation began for sophomore Julian Yung last month. He prepared at school, during club swims and did other muscle-building exercises. 

“For districts, I did three times a week with high school and six times a week with club at Nitro,” Yung said. “I’m swimming nine times a week, anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours a day including some dry land workouts like squats, pushups and core strengthening.”

For Yung, districts meant more than usual, as last year he encountered issues that kept him from performing his best. 

“Last year I went to regionals for relay, and I had walking pneumonia, so it means a lot this year because I have been working my tail off to get to this point and push into individual meets this year,” Yung said. “It felt really good to place second this year.”

Aiden Spaulding, a freshman swimmer, qualified for region by placing fourth in Boys 200 Freestyle. 

“It was crazy [placing fourth] because I’m a freshman and all the other people in [Boys 200 Freestyle] were all upperclassmen, which was scary but at the same time pretty cool,” Spaulding said. “For me, it never dawned on me that I was going to be going to regionals.”

The wins didn’t stop there. Senior Dani Lelinski returned to districts this year and beat her score for Girls 100 Breaststroke from the prior year. Her hard work paid off and now she is qualified for region and hopes to swim her way to state. 

“[Placing second] was crazy,” Lelinski said. “Last year I got third and this year I got second, and it was just insane. It was a crazy feeling to look up at the board and see my name – second. I’m so hyped up for region and I’m hoping to get second again because top two at region go to state and I would love to go to state.”

The team has roughly two weeks to prepare between district and region. 

“This year our district meet was early so it gave us more time between district and region which is nice,” Coach Denison said. “We recovered in the first part of [last] week and have started putting a little more hard work on them, putting in speed work this week and refining all the fine-tuning details.”

Although swimming is an individual sport, their team spirit isn’t diminished in the light of competition. 

“What I’m really excited for [at] region is having fun with the team and getting to support my other teammates,” Lelinski said. “Going to region, for me, is just another fun opportunity with the team and a good time to bond with the team.”

When asked about the team, Coach Denison didn’t hold back on her praise for the swimmers. 

“I can’t praise enough the swimmers that we have,” Denison said. “They are representing the school so well and most of them have been doing this since they were five or six years old so it’s a lifetime of accumulated accomplishments that come to this moment and I think it’s worth a lot of praise. They’ve shown a lot of dedication to their sport and they are doing it to represent their school and I think that’s amazing.”