Swim team sees decade of dominance


By Julia Harris, Staff Reporter

An undefeated record is not something many sports teams can boast. The boys’ and girls’ swim teams, however, can proudly attest to having one for almost a decade. Neither team has lost a dual meet since 2015.

According to the swimmers and coaching staff, it isn’t just talent that carries them. They attribute their winning streak to the origin of the team, the variety of athletes on it and quality coaching. 

Many of the swimmers on the school team compete for a club outside of school. Often, club practices are year-round and at least five days a week. Constantly swimming, these athletes are always preparing to perform their best during the winter school season. 

“(Conestoga swim) is a lot of fun because we’ll see these swimmers when we go to club meets and we swim for different teams, but then we all come together on one team, and it brings out the best of the best in our school district. It makes us really good and really competitive, and we have a lot of fun with it,” said senior Delaney Burns, one of the girls team’s captains. 

Since the school season only lasts from Dec. to Feb., there is a limited time for the athletes to swim  together. However, their year-round training has them mentally and physically prepared. They are always determined to make it to Districts and States. 

“Every swimmer is motivated to work hard and keep the reputation of our school to a high standard,” boys captain James Manion said. “The guys on the team know that we have the talent and potential to be the best for a long time and make sure to capitalize on that. This year’s group, and the groups all four years I’ve been on the team, have been full of guys who are willing to give everything they have any time they’re in a pool, which is a mindset that is guaranteed to breed champions.” 

Over the years, this determined mindset and excitement has created a close team, passionate about working together and cheering each other on. Sophomore Sarah Fox has already developed a strong bond with her teammates. She says every athlete competing at meets gets cheered for, because the point system means everyone contributes to the overall score. 

“The team bond is really something that’s special from freshmen all the way up to every senior. All the captains create such a good environment for everyone to be in and everyone’s positive. Everyone’s cheering for everyone and no matter what the outcome is we’re all very happy with it,” Fox said. 

Because the team has so many strong swimmers, they are able to have multiple athletes competing and pushing each other to their limits: it isn’t just about a few stars, it’s about everyone. 

“What makes Stoga different is our depth. This has probably won us every close meet that I’ve had in my four years,” Burns said. “With Radnor (for example) who’s our closest competitor, they have probably just as many stars on their team. But what really makes a difference is those second, third, fourth, and fifth place finishes. You can’t win a meet just with two girls who win each of their 4 events, you need other girls scoring points, and that’s really what sets us apart.” 

The swimmers also credit their long-term success to high quality and consistent coaching. Both the club and school coaches work hard to develop quality training plans for their athletes.

“The coaching staff always tries to help us get better and they always encourage us in every way possible, whether it’s about swimming or not,” freshman Aru Nayak said. 

Mark Tirone, head coach of the boys team, feels proud of this years’ senior class. He knows it will be difficult to lose them, but he hasn’t lost hope for the team’s future success. 

“This graduating class is probably the most talented graduating class as a whole. They have not lost a meet for the four years I have been coaching them,” Tirone said. “But there’s still a lot of talent right behind them.” 

Sarah Fox is confident that the underclassmen are ready to take on the challenge of leading the next generations of swimmers. Junior James Johnson is also hopeful that the undefeated streak will continue. 

“We are losing a lot of good people next year, but I think we still have a shot,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to know how middle schoolers and younger people will perform in high school, so I’m not sure how it will be past when I graduate. But we’ve had a solid team for quite a while, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.” 

Julia Harris can be reached at [email protected]