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.