As a stellar fall sports season for GVHS comes to a close, a new season for winter sports begins. The basketball, ice hockey, indoor track, wrestling, and swim teams are all beginning to prepare and train for competitions in the upcoming season.
The first day of swim team practice is November 17th, 2017, at the Garnet Valley Middle School pool; students take a bus from the high school to the middle school to get to practice everyday at 2:45pm. Coaches Clark Bickling and Miss Dale lead practices every Monday through Saturday; the practices are co-ed, which makes them especially fun and is something unique to swimming which not many other sports can offer. Ron Leraris is the diving team coach, and his practices occur at 5:00pm right after swim team practice.
Last year, the girls swim team achieved their best season in history, finishing 2nd in the Central League only to Conestoga. The men’s team also had a successful year, finishing right in the middle of the league standings. The swim schedule includes dual meets against each team in the central league throughout the season, and then up to 4 focal meets at the end of the season (these are the championship meets which the team trains for all year). The focal meets include Silvers, for swimmers who did not qualify for the other 3 meets, Central League Championships, which requires qualifying times and is against all other schools in the central league, Districts, which requires even faster qualifying times and includes many more teams, and finally States, the hardest meet to qualify for, which one can only qualify for if they finish top 5 in their event at Districts. In the 2016-17 season, Garnet Valley had an incredible 29 swimmers qualify to swim at Centrals, 11 swimmers qualify to race at Districts, and 1 swimmer qualify for States in both the 200 Freestyle and 500 Freestyle. Overall, the team had an extremely successful year.
One aspect of the team which makes it so fun is the incredible dynamic between the swimmers. Since we are together everyday at practice for 2 hours, we all become more family than just friends. The frequent pasta dinners, sleepovers, and team bonding activities allow us to create memories which will last a lifetime, making the approach of the season an event which every past team member counts down for in excited anticipation. Last year, we had the opportunity to have a team building day at iCore Fitness, a facility which houses equipment like you might see on shows like American Ninja Warrior.
In addition, the sometimes lengthy bus rides to and from meets, Chick-Fil-A stops after a close win, and famous pep talks from both coaches make the season and team really something special.
This upcoming season, the GV swim team is hoping to improve on our performance from last year. As with any new season, the goal is always to beat our rivals in dual meets and send more swimmers to the qualification-necessary focal meets in February and March. We are gaining many talented freshmen, and also keeping the same skilled team which achieved so highly last season. As a member of the swim team, I cannot wait for the season, and it is definitely one of my highlights of both my year, and of my entire high school experience.