Coach Tracey Lonn scaled back practice intensity as the remaining 10 members of the Englewood girls swim team prepares for the league meet which will wrap up the season.
“By the middle of the season, the girls were swimming about 3,000 yards each day in practice,” the coach said. “But, we always cut back practice distances as we get close to the season finale so now the girls are only swimming about 2,000 yards a day.”
The Pirates had the final dual meet of the season Jan. 25 at Adams City and then head for the Independent Schools League Meet Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at Colorado College.
Schools at the meet will be Colorado Academy, Kent Denver, St. Mary’s Colorado Springs, Fountain Valley, Manitou Springs, Platte Canyon, St. Mary’s Academy, Salida and Englewood.
“We should have a number of girls and relay teams place at the league meet,” the coach said. “This will conclude our season because, while our girls have all improved their times, we are a young team and our times aren’t quite good enough yet to get us to state.”
In swimming, athletes qualify for state by meeting or bettering established standards. The league meet is to determine the best swimmers and divers and the best teams in the league.
Lonn said she expects Natalie Pena to place in the butterfly and Shawna Eldridge should place in the breaststroke at league. She said the three relay teams have been swimming well and also should place.
This is a very different season for Pirate swimming since, the first time since the 1960s, there isn’t a pool at the high school.
The pool was demolished as part of the creation of a seventh- to 12th-grade campus. So, the athletes must take a bus to practice at the Englewood Recreation Center.
“We are a young team and that is a plus in adjustment to the new way of doing things,” Lonn said.
“The young swimmers don’t have a lot of experience with the fact we had a treasure Englewood by having our pool at the high school. This year is the new way of doing things and kids will begin to accept it as the way things are done.”
The coach added the future of the team looks good as, on eighth-grade open house, she had nine incoming freshmen girls who expressed interest in joining the swim team.
Sophomore Rachel Nickerson said it has been a good season for her and she is looking forward to going to the league meet.
“I have worked hard on technique and cutting seconds off my times,” she said with a smile. “If I keep working hard, maybe by the time I am a senior, I will qualify for state.”
She said her best events are 200 freestyle or the 200 individual medley and, of the two, the 200 freestyle is her favorite.
“I like the pace of the event. You can take your time and focus on technique as you swim the distance,” she said. “The 100 freestyle is OK but I like the 200 better because it is longer and I like the pace of the swim better.”
When she swims the individual medley, she said she likes swimming the butterfly the best.
She said the butterfly is sort of hard to learn but, once you get the technique down, it is pretty easy and, she added, it is a fun stroke to swim.
In addition to swimming, Nickerson plays softball and soccer. She said swimming is a plus as she looks forward to joining the soccer team this spring.
“Swimming is a demanding sport and builds my muscles and my stamina,” she said. “It also helps my coordination when I swim strokes like the butterfly.”
Looking back on the season, Nickerson said she feels her biggest accomplishment was her improvement in the 200 individual medley.
“I worked hard and I feel my biggest accomplishment is to reduce my personal best time in the 200 individual medley by 27 seconds,” she said. “I felt good about that accomplishment because it was something I didn’t think I could do that when the season started.”