Girls swim and dive team thrives after 2020 season


Photo submitted by Rachelle Putnam

Junior grader Lucy Siedschlag swims the 100 yard butterfly at a dual meet against Park. Siedschlag takes a deep breath as she fights for first place with a time of 1:05.97.

Kennedy Tope, Podcast Editor and Online Editor

The 2020 ponies swim and dive team refused to be nothing less than great despite the restraints of the pandemic. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, two practices were held and masks were worn when swimmers were not in the pool.

“Last year, I didn’t really get to meet any new girls, so having everyone at the pool at the same time is really nice,” senior captain Luci Miller said.

Unlike the 2020 season, vaccinated swimmers no longer have to wear masks. Spectators of home meets require a face covering regardless of vaccination status.

“At the Stillwater pool they’re not required- at certain away meets like the the U of M they’re required and on the bus,” Miller said.

There is a varsity and a junior varsity group, both swim in the same pool at the same time. Varsity has faster times and, “JV gets yelled at more,” sophomore Annie Gritters said.

The junior varsity group spends some of practice doing dry land, a swimmer’s term for workouts on land. During this time, the varsity swimmers do more rigorous pool exercises. The coach will often pull different swimmers (sprinters, backstrokers, etc.) to do individual swimming drills designed specifically for their stroke.

I hope that in all of this madness, you can come to the pool and feel like you can be yourself.

— Brian Luke

The girls kept their dual meet winning streak of over 150 consecutive victories in the 2020 season, and have won all dual meets of the 2021 season so far. Team members have expressed a yearly concern of breaking the streak with varsity swimmers graduating, when three of the 2021 seniors went division one for swimming to their selected colleges.

“It’s going to be a hard gap to fill but we’re trying- and we’re doing pretty good at it,” Miller said.

This will be coach Brian Luke’s 46th year coaching the girls and boys swim and dive teams. Luke expressed how he feels it is unfortunate that students have dealt with a pandemic.

“I hope that in all of this madness, you can come to the pool and feel like you can be yourself,” coach Brian Luke said to the girls.

Large conference meets that didn’t take place last year are now back on the schedule. This includes the conference relays, the maroon and gold invite, the Saint Kate’s invite, and true team state.

“True team state- one that we missed last year- that’s just a really fun one that builds everyone’s spirits. Coach Luke really loves it- it’s one of his favorites,” Miller said.

The swimmers will continue their season and wear masks when required.