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Barn Burner
UMW Swim 21–22 Season

What a season. With lots of personal bests, seasonal bests and college best times. The UMW swim team had a great year.

Starting practice before the season started with open hours during the second week of school in August. The swimmers were looking forward to the season and eager to begin. In mid September the season kicked off with a bang. Everyone enjoyed the first few weeks getting to know the new freshmen on the team. The upperclassmen helped get the freshman and sophomores comfortable with practices and the team. This is because the freshmen were obviously new, and last year the season was very different because of covid.
There were a few dual swim meets between October and mid November that were very fun. At the dual meets the swimmers cheered and supported their teammates. Everyone, just having fun and having a good time. In the third week of November the mid-season meet was held at Franklin and Marshall. It was right before Thanksgiving break. It was a three day meet and the energy was impeccable. The Franklin and Marshall pool is amazing. The swimmers could cheer behind the lanes, which gave the swimmers who were swimming motivation to go fast. The meet was long, but it was so much fun, and everyone had a blast, because everyone got to learn more about their teammates.
Following the invitational, most of the swimmers had off until after Thanksgiving break. Once the team returned to school they were back in the pool training for two weeks until finals came along. During that week the team had off, but they could go to open hours and get in and swim.
Winter break flew by. The swim team had to cut it short, because they had training trip in Florida. If the swimmer didn’t want to go on the training trip, they could choose not to go. The trip cost $800 per swimmer. The team had to go back to UMW on the 29th of December for practice. The swimmers had to get tested for covid once they got to campus or the day before. If you were positive or close contact without a booster, you couldn’t train at school or go on training trip. Several people couldn’t go on the trip because of this. On January 3rd the team left to go down to Orlando. They were there for six days training hard, coaches pushing them to get back in shape. Training trip was really fun. The swim team had one day off which they could go to Universal or the beach. Training trip 2022 was something else. Fun because you got to spend time with the team outside of school without worrying about homework and classes, and hard because you only swam, ate and slept for six days straight.
When the team got back from training trip, they had to get tested again for covid. Even more people ended up being positive. Some of the swimmers had to quarantine, because they were a close contact with those who were positive. The season was on a pause for a week and half because of this. After the time off, the team was back in the pool, despite the ups and downs of the previous two weeks. On top of all of that, there was only a month and half until Mets!
Once the swimmers got back into practices, they had a few more dual meets and the senior meet until it was taper time. Taper started after the senior meet which was the last dual meet of the season. At the senior meet, the class of 2022 had a recognition and walked through the tunnel of all their teammates. It was a fun meet, because not only was it the senior meet, but the swimmers were only competing with each other, not with another team.
After that meet, the team started taper. Taper was for two weeks leading up to Mets. Some of the swimmers had taper exhaustration which is when you are in the middle of taper and you are both mentally and physically exhausted. You feel like you are moving so slow, but in reality you are swimming really fast, and you are in the best shape you have ever been.
Two weeks went by fast, and it was Mets time. It was the first Mets that the UMW swim team has gone to, since last year’s conference championship was canceled due to covid. Those who were in the 800 free relay left Wednesday afternoon on the van. Everyone else left on the bus at 8:00 am sharp the following morning. The ride was five hours, even though it felt like an eternity. Once they arrived at the pool, the team had a quick swim before they started cheering for the teammates in the 800 free relay. The relay kicked off and the team cheered from the bleachers and the corners of the pool. They weren’t allowed to stand behind the lanes because there wasn’t enough room. They got loud and had fun watching their teammates swim in both the women and the men’s relays.
After the relay, the team went back to the hotel and the women’s team did the yarn game where you sat in a circle and you took a string of yarn and threw it to someone in the circle. Once you throw it, you say something nice or a memory that you and that person have with each other. After the yarn game, the whole team ate dinner and went to bed. Excited for the first day of the individual events to begin.
On Friday morning there were a lot of the swimmers who had personal bests in their individual events or college bests. Most of the team made it back into finals later that night.
Before finals started the team had to go back to the hotel and sleep and relax until they returned back on the bus and got back at it at finals. During finals the team was boisterous and excited for their teammates. Yelling as loud as they could. Once the individual events were over the 200 medley relay happened, everyone cheered like crazy. This made the relay swimmers feel like they were motivated to do well, not just for the relay, but for the team.
It was the second day of the swim meet, and everyone was starting to lose the momentum that they had on Thursday night. Everyone swam pretty well on Saturday, even though there were some ups and downs because were half way through the meet. There were a lot of personal bests and college bests but everyone was just focused on what they wanted to do and what they hoped to achieve in their swims. After the morning session, everyone went back and relaxed before finals. The pool lit up on Saturday with some fast swims and everyone had a lot of fun. As always the relays are filled with intensity. There were two relays that day, the 200 free relay before the individual events and the 400 medley after. With all the noise from the cheering from the first relay, swimmers in the individual events were energized to swim well in their individual events.
After the session was over everyone went back to the hotel, got some food and went to bed. Before they went to bed, everyone had to finish packing. Because after the morning session on Sunday, the team had only reserved six rooms for late check out. At this point in time most of the swimmers were starting to lose their voices from excessive cheering.
It was the last day of competition. Everyone was excited, but also eagerly wanting to go back home and sleep in their own beds. That day was probably the most hectic of all. During the morning session everyone was loud and swimming fast because this would likely be the last time the seniors would be competing before graduating. After the morning session, everyone went back to the hotel, and either stayed in the lobby, or went into the six rooms that were open and took naps.
Some of the swimmers were swimming the mile, and if they were, they left earlier than the rest of the team. So that they could get in and warm up before they swam 66 laps. The rest of the swim team went back to the pool and watched the milers swim. Since it was the last day, the boys got crazy watching the mile swimmers. Taking off their shirts and swinging them in their hands, being crazy and having fun. Because the boys did this during the mile, they were tired once the mile session was finished. Which isn’t that great, because most of them were swimming in finals later that night. Nevertheless they did their best and performed pretty well.
Before the finals session began, there was a little break for those who were swimming in finals to warm up. Before the meet started there was a senior recognition. This is when all the swimmers from all the teams got together and walked around the pool as one. They each received a backpack that said Mets on it. It was both happy and sad because the seniors were realizing this is it, you are done, you are finally free.
Finals started and there was no rest. Everyone was cheering as loud as they could, getting excited and pumping the competitors up for their swims. The racers who swam that night did amazing, having college and personal bests. The end of the meet was near, and the only thing left was the 400 relays. Everyone was standing in the corners of the pool, getting excited and as loud as they could be for the relays. The relays were off and everyone was yelling and screaming and having a blast during both men and women’s relays.
Once the relays were over, the only thing left was the announcement of who won. The women’s team was named conference champions based on a fantastic meet while the men’s team earned fourth place. Kinsey Brooks was awarded rookie of the year and swimmer of the meet, and will be swimming for UMW in the NCAA championship in mid March. The coaches received the women’s team of the year award. Once the awards were over the swim team threw Coach Anderson in the pool and jumped in the pool behind him.
It was so much fun, and everyone had a great time. Memories that will last forever. Just know if you take the time to put in the effort you will achieve your goals with the people that bring out the best in you. This season for the UMW swim team was impeccable and was amazing, just imagine what it’s going to be like next year and how fun that will be.

Take their wedges

UMW swim season 2022-23

Mets 2023

We completed the season by “taking their wedges”. This season has been the best season post Covid. It was the first time that the team was connected not only in the pool but out of the pool. In this article, I’ll be retelling what happened this season and what an amazing journey it has been.

The season began before the season even started. We first had open swim hours during the first few weeks of school. So that everyone can adjust to their classes.

We had a new coach this year. Grace Gartman, who was a volunteer last year but this year she’s a coach. This was great for the team because now we have two male coaches and one female coach. We have a new manager this season, Hallie Perry. She takes photos during swim meets, gets water from the swimmers during practices, gives times during timing sets, does paperwork for the coaches, runs the instagram page at times and does whatever the coaches asks her to do. She did a lot for the team and everyone really appreciates what she did.

The Saturday before practices started we had Meet the Team. This is where all the swimmers hangout and meet each other before we get in the pool and work hard. We were all looking forward to the 2022–2023 season. This was the first time that there were NO Covid restrictions.

The first Saturday of practice we have a three hour swim practice. This is where we do challenges and games to get to know each other before the dual meets and before practices get harder. We had a kahoot about the team and about the coaches. Then we had a scavenger hunt, where we took photos all around campus of different things. After the scavenger hunt, we did a lane line race of all the teams. Baby, Navy, and Gray and see who can run the lane line to fountain and back the fastest. It was a great first Saturday getting to know the new teammates and get a glimpse of what is yet to come. We were split into our color team. You are assigned a color your freshman year or your first year of swimming, and you stay that color all the years you are part of the team. There is a Navy, Gray and Baby team. Baby used to be the red team last year but they changed it because it wasn’t the school colors.

There were a lot of new freshmen joining the team, as well as one transfer and one walk on. The team was packed with new swimmers. There were a lot more upperclassmen this year than there were last year. This is because there were more juniors and seniors combined. The seniors really stepped up this year.

The dual meet season started in October and paused in early November. The dual meets were really fun this year. If you weren’t swimming you were either talking to the coaches or standing and cheering for your teammates.

We had a Halloween lifting practice where we could dress up. Some seniors became cockroaches because there are cockroaches in the bathroom. Halloween lift was so much fun because you just needed to wear something funny and fun.

Mid-season came faster than we expected. Mid-season was at Franklin and Marshall against other teams in the area. We left for mid-season on Thursday afternoon and the meet was from Friday — Sunday. We could cheer for our teammates behind the lanes and for prelims and finals. Overall everyone did great at mid-season.

Following mid-season we had off for Thanksgiving break. Then we had a week of practice, the week before finals, then another week off for finals. The day after finals we had practice. This is because training trip was right after finals this year which was different from last year because last year we went after the New Years. The practice was hard because some swimmers didn’t swim during finals week. But Coach did say to get in the pool because if you don’t, training trip will be hard. We had practice on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and then we left for Florida at 3:30 on Tuesday morning for training trip.

Training trip was unbelievably fun this year. Training trip was in St.Petersburg instead of Orlando. The hotel was right on the beach which was amazing. We had doubles every day because we were trying to not only get back in shape from finals but get stronger for Mets (Metropolitan Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference) too. Before every practice we would either stretch or do abs led by one of the coaches. The good thing about having doubles though was that we would see the sunrise in the morning and the sunset in the afternoon. Each swimmer was divided into a van with either a coach or one of the seniors, and you would be with them the whole week. If you were in Coach Anderson’s van you would have had multiple conversations about how you can have a chicken as a pet and what the best type of chicken to get as a pet. After morning practice you were free to do whatever you want until afternoon practice. You could either go to the beach, play volleyball on the beach with your teammates, take a nap, go ziplining on the beach, go down an inflatable slide or go in the hot tub. Training trip was so much fun because there was so much to do and we were at the beach. Since we had multiple vans we weren’t stuck at the hotel the whole time either. One day during a training trip we didn’t have a double so on that day we had class dinners. Class dinners are when you go with your whole class and have dinner with them. It’s a great way to hangout with your class even if you aren’t close with them. We left on Tuesday the 13th and got back on Monday the 19th. We spent an entire week in Florida with the team. If you lived outside of Virgina you could get a plane from MCO (Orlando) to the city you live in. This is because we didn’t need to be back in Fredericksburg until the 4th.

On January 4th we swam at school until classes started on the 9th. This is because the coaches wanted us back before classes started. Once classes started on the 9th practices resumed normally. Senior night was on February 3rd against Gettysburg. Senior night was really fun celebrating the seniors who we are all going to miss next year. The last dual meet of the season was against Southern Virginia. At that meet we had part two of senior night. This is because one of the seniors couldn’t make the meet against Gettybsurg. There were twelve seniors this season. A few of them are going to do a fifth year of swimming. This is because of covid you can do an extra year depending on your graduation year which is great.

We started taper right after Southern Virginia. There were no swim meets during taper. Instead of swim meets we had swim practice on Saturdays with the whole team. All the lanes were filled with at least five or more people. The week before we left for METS we did a broken swim of our events each day and then after we finished day three events we did the same thing but as a rehearsal swim. The difference is that a broken swim is all out and the rehearsal swim is working on your technique, your dive and your flip turns or open turns.

Those who were in the 800 free relay left for the swim meet Wednesday afternoon. This is because they were the only ones swimming on Thursday night. Those who left for the 800 free relay checked into the hotel and relaxed. Everyone else left at 8am Thursday morning. The bus ride was five and half hours. It was a little bit faster than last year because we did not hit that much traffic. We arrived at the pool around 12:30. For lunch you’d either have panera or you would have a sub. Since we were already at the pool waiting for warm ups to start at 1:30 we had to eat lunch at the pool. If you had a sub you had to eat outside because subs can get messy.

Everyone got in the water to feel each of the two competition pools even if you were not in the 800 free relay. Warmups were from 1:30–3:20 ish and the relays started at 3:30. The women’s 800 free relay went first and they crushed it. Everyone was cheering for them like crazy. The men’s 800 free was next. The men’s 800 free relay was so exciting to watch because the only time we see the 800 free relay is during METS. After both relays there was time for time trials.

After the 800 free relay we all went back to the hotel, found our roommates and rooms and had a little bit to relax and unpack. After settling in we had dinner with the team. After dinner we made posters for the meet and the women’s team stayed back and did their tradition that we do every year. Once the tradition was over everyone received their Wilays. Wilays is a piece of paper that everyone gets that each person on the team writes something nice to you and hopes that you do well at METS. After reading your Wilays it was time for showers and lights out. So that we could have a good night’s rest for the Individual events the next morning.

Friday morning started with breakfast at the hotel. You’d either drive to Rutgers in the van or on the bus. Warmups started at 7:30 and the meet started at 9:30. Before the individual events we had the B 200 free relay. This is because if you weren’t in the A relay at night you could be in the B relay in the morning. This happened every day before prelims or after prelims and the relay would be the same relay at night. The individual events on Friday were the 500 free, 200 Individual Medley and 50 free. After the events you could time trial. Everyone did really well on Friday. As a team we had some setbacks but we pushed forward and swam for not just ourselves but for our teammates.

After prelims you could either get lunch with your family or have panera and subs again. We had a few hours to rest before we had to go back to the pool for finals. The first event of the night was the 200 free relay. The women kicked it off and swam amazing. The men killed it with their incredible swim. After the relay there were the individual events. In finals there were the C final, B final and the A final. The top 24 swimmers will make it back. After the individual events the last race of the day was the 400 medley relay. The women’s relay did super well getting first place in the A relay. The men’s relay did great. The whole team was cheering on the side of the pool throughout the meet and especially during the relays. After the relays we went back to the hotel and had dinner before lights out.

Saturday prelims went extremely well for everyone. Everyone had great swims. Before the individual events the B relay for the 200 medley kicked day two off. The individual events that happened were the 400 Individual Medley, the 100 fly, the 200 free, the 100 breast and the 100 back. After the individual events if you wanted to time trial an event you could. After prelims we went back to the hotel and had lunch and relaxed before finals.

On the way back to the pool everyone had to go on the bus because the van had no gas left. So one of the coaches got gas while every seat was taken on the bus. Everyone was confused because all the seats were taken up and no one was in the van except the coach. Which was not good because since we have both the van and the bus there should be at least a few swimmers in the van and a few seats open.

Day two finals kicked off with a bang with the 200 medley relay. The women’s 200 medley was unbelievably fun. Not only did each swimmer get a personal best time in their 50 split but they got the NCAA B cut as well. Which was great to watch and cheer for them and enjoy their win with them. The men’s team relay did amazing. We had a surprise visit from Sammy D Eagle (the mascot) who cheered during finals each night. After the relay everyone either got ready for their individual events for the night or they cheered for their teammates who were swimming in finals. Once the individual events were over we went back to the hotel, had dinner and called it a night before the last day of the meet.

The last day was very different from any other day. This is because if you were in the mile and didn’t have any events during the prelims session you could sleep in. This is because the mile was its own session in the middle of the day. The prelims session kicked off with the 200 backstroke followed by the 100 free, 200 breast and finally the 200 fly. The 400 free B relay was at the end of prelims followed by time trials.

Once time trials were over we all went back to the hotel to not only relax but to finish packing. We checked out of the hotel and went back to the pool to go watch the milers swim. After they swam the pools opened up for warmups. After warmups there was a senior recognition that happened right before the meet started. This is when we recognize the seniors and give them a send off. The announcer calls each school and then the seniors name and then they walk around the pool. This year it was a little bit more emotional because the seniors really stepped up this season.

After the senior recognition the meet started with the individual event finalists. The whole stands were extremely loud on Sunday because it was the last day. After the individual events the 400 free relay took place. The women’s relay did extremely well and so did the men’s relay. Once both relays were finished UMW had one more relay. This is because the 400 medley relay wanted to time trial so that they could see if they could get the NCAA B cut in the 400 medley too. The whole pool deck was on their feet cheering. The relay finished and when Thalia Costanza touched the wall and we saw the board we knew that they got the cut. That relay was electric and everyone was so happy for them.

After the time trial relay there were awards to give out. Kinsey Brooks was named Female Swimmer of the Year and the Coaches were named the Women’s Coaching staff of the Year again. Kinsey will be continuing practicing for NCAA championships which will happen in mid March. Head Coach Justin Anderson was named Coach of the Year as well. Once the awards were given out the announcer named who won the men’s championship and then finally who won the Women’s which was UMW. The women won their 32 consecutive conference championship and the men came in fourth. After the call of the champion the whole women’s team jumped into the pool with the coaches and the manager. It was really fun celebrating with the team winning METS for the last time. This is because UMW is moving conferences from METS to NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference) next season.

The whole team did great this season. With so many memories from dual meets to training trip. The season was a blast. Your teammates and coaches really do make swimming worth it and it makes it so much fun. They are the ones that are worth waking up at five am for practice. I couldn’t have made it through the season without them. Next season is going to be so different but yet so fun.

GO Eagles!!!