Last year the girls’ swim team placed second at the state meet, ending their five-year streak of state titles. After winning all but one meet during the season, 22 girls on the team qualified. It was not enough last year, but the expectations have not changed as the team aims to return stronger than ever.
The team fell to Lawrence Free State after losing two final races by one-tenth of a second. This time however, the team is hoping to take first place at state on May 21st.
“This year we happen to have a lot of energetic kids who are strong workers and it makes a great atmosphere,” varsity coach Rob Cole said.
The team had tryouts and began practicing before spring break. Both varsity and JV have been working on technique in the pool and conditioning. The varsity team includes 28 swimmers, nine of which are freshmen. Practices after school consist of drills, dry-land conditioning, and intense swimming sets. In preparation for upcoming meets, varsity swimmers practice twice a day, three days a week — before school and in the afternoon.
“Losing last year was really disappointing, but it is also motivating to go back and win this year,” sophomore Paige McClelland said.
The team started off their season strong at their first meet. Saturday, March 26th, they raced against every other Shawnee Mission High School. The girls swept the competition with 696 points, over 200 more than the second place team, Northwest, with 434.
The Lancer’s biggest rival will be the reigning state champions, Lawrence Free State. Last year, East had many strong swimmers competing, however Lawrence Free State swimmers placed higher. Their faster swimmers were able to win races, putting them ahead of East. Still, East plans to continue working hard for upcoming meets and prepare for their bigger ones such as the Olathe Invitational on April 8th. After that, they have Sunflower League and the State meet to look forward to.
“I am really excited for the season,” McClelland said. “ I think we have a really strong team and have a good chance of winning.”