Absences cause loss in first divisional meet
GERMANTOWN INDOOR SWIM CENTER, DEC. 8 –
The Walter Johnson Wildcats (1-0) beat Blair's swim and dive team (0-1) in the first divisional meet of the season. Due to the absence of many key team members, including many of the captains, the remaining captains and coaches focused on less experienced swimmers during the meet.
Co-coach James Demma attributed their absence to various other meets taking place at the same time, including the Tom Dolan Invitational. "A lot of the kids who swim club team year round were missing today because their club teams take priority over Blair's," Demma said. "They just had to go."Senior captain Jennifer Arai stated that it was difficult to create a starting lineup because many of the missing teammates typically swim in multiple events. "We had at least one-third of the team missing so it was hard trying to fill as many places as possible," Arai said.
Junior captain Brian Huang thinks that the absences contributed to discouragement among his teammates. "We did what we could with what we had, "Huang said. "A lot of the team was missing so spirits were a little down."
However, Arai believes that despite the loss, the meet was helpful because it gave some newer swimmers a chance to compete. "Our focus was trying to get some of the people who don't swim in as many of the events swimming since a lot of the club swimmers were missing," she said.
Co-coach Kelly Crowder agrees that it was a gain in terms of focus on more inexperienced swimmers. "This meet gave us an opportunity to get times for swimmers who hadn't swum certain events before," she said.
Junior Hannah Willis stated that she was not upset about her missing teammates since they have obligations to their other teams as well as to Blair's team. "It's a little disappointing [that] we weren't at the top of our games as a whole, but there's nothing you can do about that except know that we did the best we could and hope we get a better turnout next week," Willis said.
Crowder believes that even with the setbacks at the meet, the team remained tight-knit. "They were still helping each other and cheering for each other. That's when it's really important, when you're missing a lot of the team, and they still come together to support each other," she said. "I was proud of them for that."
Arai believes that a few improvements will help the team succeed next week. "It was a good start to the season. Hopefully, we'll work on improving starts, improving times and then we'll win a meet," she said. Crowder agreed that the team needs to work on start times, as well as turns and finishes.
Demma believes that next week's meet against the Wootton Patriots will be a successful rebound for the Blazers. "Next week we'll have the fastest lineup Montgomery County has ever seen," he said.
The Blair swim and dive team's next meet is on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 11:30 a.m. against Wootton at the Martin Luther King Swim Center.
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