CatFish end successful season with strong finish, state win

With its 45 state championships, the varsity swim team has been one of the most successful teams in Westminster sport history. This season has lived up to the team’s winning expectations. The boys varsity swimming and diving team went 7-1 during the regular season, eventually taking home first place for the second straight year. The girls went 3-4-1, finishing a strong 12th in state. Although the boys team repeated their state championship, their season was especially successful.

“This year, we won by over 100 points. Last year the margin of victory was much closer – I want to say around 15 points – and it came down to every single point,” said varsity coach Jan Allen.

Senior Derek Cox had a different perspective.

“We ended up taking probably the biggest group of guys we’ve ever taken to state, out of all four years that I’ve been going,” said Cox. “That really allowed us to be successful and have a dominant win at state. This was probably the best season that I’ve ever been a part of.”

So what led the team to such a commanding victory this year? Cox said that it was the contribution of the underclassmen and the teamwork that pushed the team over the top.

“We had a really great group this year. We’re all close knit and all worked towards a common goal,” Cox said. “We worked hard going into state, and we really wanted to swim as fast as we could. We had a lot of people contribute, which was one of my favorite parts, because it shows just how much of a team effort winning state is. We also had a lot of underclassmen step up this year, which helped a lot.”

Allen attributed the team’s success to its unity as well.

“The level of camaraderie on our team is a major advantage for us, but I think that the young ones learned that it has to be a team effort,” said Allen. “One or two people alone cannot do it.”

It took a bit of time for the freshmen to adjust to varsity standards, as there is a stark difference between Middle School and Upper School.

“Varsity was a lot more serious. We had two hour practices instead of one hour practices,” said freshman Dylan Vroon. “The season went on for twice as long, too. Instead of ending at Christmas break, the season ended in February.”

Since this year was the last year of Westminster swimming and diving for the seniors, it will be tough to achieve what the team did this year.

“Next year it is going to be really hard to win the state championship,” said Vroon. “We’re losing a lot of seniors, around 15 boys – so all of us underclassmen have to spend a lot of time if we want to get back to where we were this year.”

Allen admitted that it would be tough to live up to the standard set this year.

“It will be tough to win the state championship, and it will definitely not be by 100 points,” said Allen. “I don’t see it coming right away, but it is something to work towards.”

With such a great season, the swim team had a lot of great moments. For Allen, it was when the two relays set state records in the preliminaries alone.

“We had a goal of setting two state records in the two short relays, the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay, and we went out and did that in the preliminaries,” said Allen. “Those two relays weren’t just the fastest at Westminster; they’re the fastest that the relay has ever been swum in the entire state of Georgia.”

Allen also mentioned that since the margin of victory at state this year was so much larger than last year’s, it almost felt like they could enjoy the state championship more.

“The divers’ 51 points gave us a huge advantage, and it let us relax and have fun,” said Allen. “Once we started the meet out with a bang, it took a lot of pressure off the swimmers, and we didn’t have to worry about every single point.”

With such a commanding performance at state, it was a fitting way to send off the seniors, and it will be remembered for years to come.

“This is probably the best season that I’ve ever been a part of,” said Cox. “Everything went perfectly. There wouldn’t be a thing that I would change about it.”