Girls swimming team prepares for State against tough competition

Girls swimming team prepares for State against tough competition

Photo credit Katelyn Jones

“How bad do you want it?” is the underlying theme of the girls swimming and diving teams this year. It is a mantra that senior team captains Rachel Astles, Hays Bynum, Nicole Dayhoff, and Katherine Kerman repeat every day before practice.

“We say ‘how bad do you want it?’” said Bynum. “It reminds people to keep working really hard and to push themselves because our goal is to win state.”

In keeping with their theme, the girls have been swimming against and overcoming some of the toughest competition in the state from day one. In their first two meets of the season, the Catfish went up against the two largest schools in Georgia: Mill Creek and Brookwood High School.

The season began with a 34-point victory over Mill Creek High School. In the following meet against Brookwood High School, the Cats were narrowly defeated by a margin of 20 points, with a final score of 147. Most recently, the girls brought home a second-place title from the McCallie Invitational, and the boys’ and girls’ combined scores brought home first place. By competing with some of the toughest schools in the area, the Catfish are able to ensure that they have the experience needed to be successful in the upcoming state meet.

“If you’re going to be the best,” said head coach Pete Higgins, “you have to beat the best.”

In accordance with this philosophy, Westminster, an AA school, will compete primarily with AAAAA schools in the regular season.

“I won’t shy away from numbers or competition,” said Higgins. “Let’s step up and try to beat them.”

The practice of competing with the biggest and toughest teams available is one of the team’s greatest assets. It helps to develop competitiveness in the swimmers and to prepare them for the competition they will face later in the season at the metro and state meets. As they look toward the championship meet in February, the Cats prepare to go above and beyond in order to have the best possible chance of achieving their goal: winning state.

“It’s been the same goal since 1960 when I started here and my goal never changes,” said Higgins. “We want to be the boys and girls state champions every year.”

The team hopes to have as many swimmers as possible make the state cuts in their events so that they will be allowed to swim in the meet. If they achieve this goal, the Cats will have a better chance of scoring points at state and thus have a better chance of winning. They also plan to continue to bond over the next few months so that they can grow into a closer-knit unit.

“The girls haven’t won state for the past five years—we’ve always come in second,” said Bynum. “We’re hoping this year we’ll win it.” The question is: how bad do they want it?