by Margaret Herbold '19 and Annie King '19
4:45 AM alarms? Cold pools and cold afternoons? Hair that freezes and snaps off on your nice long walk through the wind tunnel? While swimming and diving are notoriously challenging sports, to much of the NCS/STA swim team, this sport and especially this year’s team has come to symbolize family, support, and hard work. Entering championship season, which includes ISL’s and IAC’s, WMPSSDLS, and Metros, Close Aquatics season highlights include record-breaking 100 free and 100 breast swims by Megan Craven ‘21 (qualifying her for the all-ISL team), multiple Metros cuts, and a second- place finish at both ISL’s and WMPSSLDS for diver Dorothy Shapiro ‘19. We saw significant growth in number of swimmers, ordered racing suits without a screensaver pattern, and team lunches and sleepovers crescendoed our sense of team unity, passion, and fun.
Every year, NCS and STA participate in WMPSSDLS, the second of our three championship meets. WMPSSDLS is one of the most competitive meets we attend, with private schools from all over the DC metro area packing in to Fairland Aquatic Center in Laurel, Maryland. This year, we had an astounding performance, with approximately 20 swimmers making it to finals (ranking in the top 16 overall for the meet). It’s a meet where team records are frequently broken, as well as where record numbers of games of “Cards Against Humanity” and “Psych” are played and record numbers of blankets are brought on deck. To quote a recap email from Coach Bettencourt, Saturday morning was “a great morning of swimming! ALL of our relays are returning for finals. We are represented in nearly every event tonight. New Metros cuts. SO many best times. We are so proud of the efforts of both teams.” Huge shoutouts to Megan Craven ‘21, Rachel Yoon ‘20, Andrei Schwartz ‘19, Alex Misiaszek ‘21, and Nolan Musslewhite ‘20 for top finishes in their respective individual events!
Swimmers who meet a qualifying cut time during the competitive season are invited to swim at Metros, the largest, fastest, and most exciting high school swim meet of the year, held in Germantown, MD. Both private and public schools in the DMV are invited, and the meet is a weekend-long affair with prelims and finals spanning nearly a full day and another early morning wake-up call for the swimmers. This year, Close Aquatics is proud to send 6 relay teams and 10+ individual swimmers to Metros!
NCS is incredibly lucky to have Dorothy Shapiro ‘19 leading us on the diving side. Dorothy placed 2nd at the diving competitions for both ISLs and WMPSSDLS, and will compete again at Metros on Thursday, February 7th. We’re also very excited about NCS diving’s future, Kendall Pade ‘22 and Haanah Fasihi ‘22. Kendall and Haanah spent this season learning the required amount of dives for competition, and will show off their skills next year.
In the next few weeks, we are looking forward to our sen19r night on Tuesday, February 5 (get out to that!!) as well as our upcoming team banquet, an opportunity to honor our coaches and swimmers as well as to carry on our paper plate award tradition. This has been an incredible year for Close Aquatics (follow the ig @close_aquatics for vlogs and highlights!) both in and out of the pool. We’ve had remarkable effort in the pool and amazing spirit out of it (hit us up for poster ideas), and we’re looking forward to finishing our season strong. The senior captains are especially looking forward to passing down the leadership of the team to junior captains Alyssa, Rachel, Eddie, and Nolan, as well as an incredible group of underclassmen.