Swim team places at states and breaks personal records

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Swimmers practice their dives before one of their meets.

Record breaking. That’s what sums up this season for the big red swim team.

The girls’ swim team finished the season undefeated while the boys’ team went 3-2. The girls placed first at Western Conference, and the boys took fourth. The big red team also won second in districts and had multiple regional and state qualifiers.

States was a two-day event. When the swimmers first got there, they had to report to a evening meet to be timed in their events in order to be put in their designated “heats,” which are separated by individual times. The next day, the swimmers swam in a preliminary meet in the morning.

If swimmers place in the top eightth in the preliminaries, they receive a medal; if they place in the top 16, they move on to the night championship meet.

Five swimmers were able to qualify in both districts and regionals in order to make it to states: senior Fitzhugh Rawls, senior Victoria Ellwood, senior Sabrina Chang, junior Serena Jonas and sophomore Madeline Rawls.

The four girls were all in the 200 free relay, with Ellwood and Madeline Rawls being the only girls who swam individual events. Ellwood swam the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke, while Madeline Rawls swam the 100 freestyle. “I knew I would make states for my individual races because once you make it, it’s easier to make it in the future. I made states for the first time my sophomore year,” said Ellwood.

Fitzhugh Rawls, the only boy that reported to states was in the 50 freestyle and the 50 backstroke.

In her individual 50 free event, Madeline Rawls placed 17thth in the preliminaries, making her unable to proceed to the night event.

The girls’ relay got two medals that day, finishing in the top eight in the preliminaries with a 1:42.38 and 7th in the night meet with a 1:42.55. They broke the previous school record, 1:47.00, in the preliminaries. “I honestly didn’t think we would even qualify for the top eight spots; it was definitely a surprise,” said Chang.

Fitzhugh Rawls also broke a school record making 21.61 for his 50 free and also winning sixthth in the state, but he did not receive a medal for his 100 backstroke that he placed 12th for; however, he did break a school record for the backstroke coming in at 52.86.

Ellwood got 13thth for both her 200 IM and her 100 breaststroke. She did not break the school record for her IM, but she did for the breaststroke clocking in at 1:07.82.

With three out of five of the swimmers graduating, Madeline Rawls and Jonas are still hopeful for the years to come. “We’re losing a bunch of people, but I am hopeful because it all depends on who decides to come and next year’s freshmen,” said Jonas. “We definitely have some holes to fill next year, and we will miss our seniors. But we still have a strong team, and hopefully we can add to it,” said Madeline Rawls.

Even though their high school swimming careers are over, these senior are likely not done swimming. Fitz Rawls said that he “plans to swim in college” and probably “wouldn’t do anymore swim meets… just open water races for fun.” Ellwood has verbally committed to swim at Florida Atlantic University, and Chang is looking into the opportunity to pursue intermural swim at the college she chooses to attend.