The girl’s varsity swim team is an astounding group of individuals. With multiple victories under their belt, they have certainly proved that they are very capable athletes. In an interview on October 29, 2019, team captains Hannah Hallman and Riley Wodka discussed the ongoing season as it approaches it’s finale.
How has this season been different from past seasons?
Riley: “Well, this season, we’re definitely a smaller team than last year and past seasons; it’s okay because it’s nice to have quality over quantity sometimes.”
Hannah: “Because it’s a smaller team, we’re able to be closer with more of the girls- [rather] than everybody breaking off into their own groups.”
Are there any upcoming events that the team is excited about?
Riley: “We have conference this Friday, and then two weeks from now, on a Saturday, we have sectionals.”
Hannah: “And the divers are at conference right now.”
In what ways has the team already improved over the course of this season?
Riley: “I think just all around. Everyone [has] been dropping time like crazy, and everyone encouraging each other has been great. I think everyone’s getting close now, and if someone is upset about something, someone is always there to be like ‘Hey, you got this!’ I’m really excited for friday – for conference – to see what everyone can do.”
Moving forward, where do you want to improve?
Riley: “Personally, for me, just getting my technique better; [it is] probably the same for the rest of the girls”
Hannah:”I think all around as a team, we just need to improve on not getting discouraged in the middle of the season: not losing motivation, just kind of keeping at it throughout the year”
What is your favorite part about being on the swim team?
Riley: “The memories. I will never forget all the memories from freshman year until now. It’s just stuff that you hold on[to] for the rest of your life.”
Hannah: “For me, it’s the memories, but also, it’s a stress relief at the end of the day. If you got a bad grade on a test or something, you can just swim it out in the pool, and it makes it better.”
What has been the most challenging thing to overcome this season?
Riley: “Probably, just facing yourself everyday. Not a lot of people know it, but after looking at a black line for hours on end, eventually your just like ‘Can I keep doing this? Can I keep going?’ Just really pushing yourself to give it all you got. Even if your legs are done, you’re kicking harder than you possibly could imagine, and you’re just pushing yourself over the limit constantly. That would probably be the hardest part.”
Hannah: “Yeah, I think so [too]. And then, overcoming that doubt [that is] like ‘I don’t think I can do this.’”
Where does the team look for inspiration?
Hannah: “From our wonderful coaches.”
Riley: “And from our teammates”
What strategies are vital to performing well under pressure?
Hannah: “I think, staying calm because if you get really, really worked up then it’s not gonna work out well. Just do what you gotta do to stay calm, and ignore that little voice in the back of your head that says ‘I can’t do this. I need to stop.’ Just keep going”
Riley: “Yeah, it’s points like that where you just gotta block everything out and be like ‘This is my race. This is my event. I’m gonna do this’”
What are some unique elements of swimming that make it different from other sports?
Riley: “Holding your breath, and just constantly pushing your body to the max over, and over, and over again. [Also,] expecting to push back like: if you miss a day, you have push yourself even harder the next day [to] make up for it.”
Hannah: “And I think this team is one of the most close-knit teams in the school. We see each other six times a week, every week. It’s a different kind of bond that you get with these girls than with anybody else in the school.”
How can the rest of the TPHS community support the swim team?
Riley: “Just [by] coming to our meets. We love having people show up that we didn’t think would come. That’s always nice. I like looking up at the stands, and seeing [people]. Like this year, the football team wanted to come. Come on in; it’s great to have a crowd to watch and cheer on and acknowledge a sport that not a lot of people acknowledge or know about.”
Hannah: “Yeah, that’s pretty much it.”
In conclusion, the girl’s swim team is a group that everyone can be excited about. Be sure to wish the team good luck as they prepare for sectionals in the upcoming weeks.