Buoyed by its first-ever Founders title last season, the girls varsity swimming and diving team is eager to get back in the water and earn even more accolades this season.
“Winning Founders last year was incredibly fulfilling,” said co-captain Jillian Cudney ’20. “Every girl on our team gave everything they had, and we could not have asked for a better result.”
Cudney was one of the major factors in the dominant win by the Bearcats, as she continued her stellar performance as a Bearcat. Individually, she won the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle, setting a new school record in the latter event. The team also won both of the freestyle relays.
Three of the five swimmers from those two relays – Cudney, Emily Bukowski ’22, and Abby Powell ’21 – are back for this season, auguring well in those events.
Another major factor in the team’s success was its performance on the board, and the team is also fortunate to have two of the three divers back from its sweep at Founders: co-captain Eden Oostenink ’20 and Meera Kasturi ’22, who twice broke the school’s diving record next season.
All of the team’s success is creating great enthusiasm for this year’s squad, said head coach Michelle Repass. “There’s a lot of excitement from last year and the year before. A lot of swimmers have been around for a few years of exciting success,” she said.
Repass was also quick to temper the enthusiasm with measured optimism. “We’re always cautious to start a new year fresh – not wanting to rest on the laurels of past successes, but wanting to draw on them to be more confident,” she said.
Having elite performers like Cudney and Kasturi has certainly raised the bar for the program, added Repass. Other swimmers and divers are pushing themselves further, seeing a higher ceiling that they can try to reach, she said.
Already coaches have noticed an uptick in performance at this point compared to last year. Some of the team’s test sets in practice are already faster than they would have been, said Repass.
Given these encouraging signs, the swimmers have high hopes again for the end of the season. “Our entire team knows that we are capable of some pretty impressive feats so long as we remain focused throughout the season and give our best efforts in practice,” said Cudney.