Swimmers commit to the pool


Mary Russell, Editor in Chief

Commitment is a familiar word to most athletes, but it takes on a whole new level in the pool.
Unlike the common land sport, swimming requires a distinct facility: the athlete cannot train anywhere but the pool. So, there is a high demand for time in the pools nearby, which causes some prominent issues for Liberty’s swim and dive team.
“We have a difficult teaching space: there are lessons going on, so that instruction is right next to us. Sometimes we have diving going on at the same time; we have to split our lanes across the diving tank. And there are lessons in the shallow end. So it gets really loud in the pool which makes it difficult for me to give the sets to the kids,” coach Kris Daughters said. “In terms of doing a lot of individual or group instruction, it’s nearly impossible at Boehm pool.”
The actual amount of swimming is restricted, with only four lanes to practice in and 50 girls on the team.
“With the pool conditions and 13 kids per lane, I cannot give sets which include distances over 150 yards because the swimmers all start lapping each other, and it would be chaos,” Daughters said.
Therefore, top senior freestylers Alexa Hoeper and Reegan Weber find it helpful to swim on a club team simultaneously.
“I think swimming on a club team as well as Liberty swim has been really beneficial for me because it’s a way to increase my yardage,” Weber said. “Pool time is typically hard to get, so being on two teams allows me to swim twice a day (in the evening and the afternoon).”
Weber is seeded first in the 200 freestyle at State, and she hopes to place first as well.
Fellow freestyler Hoeper is ranked second in State at the 500 freestyle.
“I think what I like most about the 500 meter freestyle is that you can pace it, but you still have to go out pretty hard. It’s a nice balance between sprinting and distance,” Hoeper said.
Junior Lauren Klatt and freshman Dominique Visperas are also strong swimmers on the team. They do not swim on a club team at the same time as Liberty swim, but they understand the commitment involved in the sport as a whole; they both take advantage of all of the pool time that they can.
“Commitment is an important part of swimming because the sport is based on endurance; it’s hard to miss one practice because then you will be dead for the rest of the week,” Klatt said.
“Commitment as a swimmer means that you show up to meets, you go to practice, you race well, and you cheer,” Visperas said. “You put effort into everything.”
Visperas is going to State for the 100 butterfly and hopes to make it in a freestyle event as well. With the loss of swimmers Rachel King, Abby Russell, and Chloe Weber to graduation, Daughters does not expect the team to place first at State this year but hopes to make top four.
Like most sports, the team dynamic on the swim team is crucial towards a positive atmosphere. Despite the conditions of the pool, the environment surrounding the pool is a positive one.
“As a whole, the team is very motivated. We’ve focused a lot on goal-setting this year, and everybody has a goal in mind that they’re working toward,” Weber said. “We encourage each other and are very friendly.”
Daughters has already noticed goals being met and changes being made.
“I saw a big difference at our last swim meet compared to the first two in terms of the way kids were competing and also supporting each other,” Daughters said. “I think those two things are intertwined.”