Captain’s Corner: Swim Team Finishes 1st and 2nd at State Championships

Photo: pixabay.com

Photo: pixabay.com

Asher Llewellyn, Sports Editor

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Last Thursday, February 14, the Maggie Walker Girls’ Swim Team won first at the Virginia 2A State Swimming Championship at SwimRVA. This win marks the fifth consecutive State title for the Girls’ team and an impressive moment considering the stiff competition from a rival George Mason team, whom they beat by 19 points. The Maggie Walker Boy’s Swim Team also repeated their success from last year, claiming second with an impressive 351 point score, falling just short of George Mason who had 397.

Notable personal victories also come from Noah Ratliff (‘20) who won the 100 butterfly with a time of 52.49, Henry Paulson (’20) who captured the 100 breaststroke title with a time of 1:01.86, and boy’s captain Joey Mistretta (‘19) who placed second in 1:03.82. Ratliff, Mistretta, Bryce Mortimer (’22), and Lorenzo Galang (’22) also worked together to earn victory in the 400 free relay.

Maggie Walker’s Swim Team has certainly had an impressive States showing and year as a whole, but what exactly contributed to their success? To answer that question and more, I spoke with Boys captain Joey Mistretta as well as Girls captain Quinn Keatley (‘19).

For Joey Mistretta, the Boys team owes at least part of their success to the new assistant coach Mrs. Kemmerly, or Coach K as the team calls her. “made a point of perfecting stroke technique and making practices tougher for year-round swimmers,” he explained. “And boy did she succeed!” On a more individual level, Quinn Keatley has been working on improving her mentality and finding a balance between serious training and fun. “I have also been working a lot on recovering from a shoulder injury which is finally getting better,” she added.

Unfortunately, it has not been all smooth sailing for these two swim teams. For Mistretta and the Boys’ team, for example, “we got hit hard with a long string of snow days right in the height of our season, which kept us from getting a lot of practice in.” Luckily, like any similarly successful team, they were able to “kick it into high gear [by] swimming both outside of school practice and putting in their all when [they] returned.” In the end, the Boys’ team was stronger than ever.

But for the Girls’ team, no matter how severe an obstacle they faced, they were always able to get through it as a result of the incredibly talented swimmers that compose the team.  “Whether it be team spirit or scoring points for the team, everybody—from freshmen to the captains—has had a role in making the team the amazing team it is,” praised Keatley.” The Boys’ team too boasts quite capable personnel, from freshman powerhouses Bryce Mortimer, Lorenzo Galang, and James Puzon to veteran leaders Noah Ratliff and Henry Paulson.

Looking to the future, both Boys’ and Girls’ team captains are hopeful about Maggie Walker continuing its success even as it moves from the 2A to 3A category in athletics. “With the move to the 3A division, I think everyone will step it up so we can do as well as possible in the new region,” responded Keatley. Boys’ team captain Mistretta agreed, assuring that “based on the huge amount of hardworking swimmers we got this year, along with all the other tough team members, I’m sure the team will stay as strong as ever.”

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