By Roger Wistar
Early results and a raft of returning swimmers have the girls varsity swimming and diving team enthusiastic about its prospects for the upcoming season.
"I am really excited to see what the team can do this year," said co-captain Lucia Poggi '18, who added that the team's performance at Miss Porter's, which saw the girls break two records en route to a 94-90 win, was already encouraging.
Making a strong showing at the season-ending Founders League and New England championships is a motivating goal for the team, said Poggi.
Head coach Michelle Repass also expressed optimism from the Miss Porter's result. "We're already showing that we can and will rise to the challenge, that we're not afraid of racing close races. This will be very important to us during the season," she said.
Another reason to be encouraged, said Repass, was the size and depth of this year's roster. Not only do the Bearcats have more swimmers, but the girls on the team have a broader depth of ability, which should give the team more flexibility in constructing lineups for meets, she said.
"It's a very different team than in the past, there's a lot of new people," said Repass. "We're getting to know each other. It's a really good challenge to have – we're going to be a much better team because of it."
In addition to depth, the team also boasts experience. Nearly two-thirds (20) of the swimmers on this year's roster are returners. Headlining the returners will be Jillian Cudney '20, who emerged as one of the fastest swimmers on the team last season in just her prep year.
Although Cudney's best times are in the freestyle sprint events, Repass noted that she will have the opportunity also to swim other events this year, including backstroke and individual medley.
Another exciting lower mid is newcomer Izzy Lewitt '20, who is especially strong in the individual medley but also has excellent times in several of its component strokes. Repass noted her performance in medley at the opening meet, where she made up a significant gap very quickly in the breaststroke segment.
"She's an incredibly technical swimmer, she's meticulous about perfecting her technique," said Repass.
The team as a whole will be focused on the details of swimming, such as starts, turns, and finishes, said Poggi. "If we can focus on the small stuff and come together as a team, then I think we'll have a great season," she said.