Wayland girls swim ends in splashing success


Credit: Courtesy of Katie Lee

The Wayland girls swim team poses after winning the Dual County League Championship on Sunday, Feb. 5. Girls swim ended the season with an undefeated record.

Bella Schreiber

On Feb. 5, the Wayland girls swim team plunged into the water to compete in the Dual County League Championship (DCL’s). This year, Wayland girls remained undefeated throughout the regular season and finished with a win in DCL’s. Its record is 14-0.

In past years, the girls team was overshadowed by the boys team in their long standing success. The boys team had many consecutive years where it went undefeated and won DCL, sectionals and states.

“I think that swim [team] deserves more recognition because I think a lot of people don’t realize how hard it really is,” senior captain Hannah Gordon said. “When a swimmer says that they swim 100 yards in less than a minute, most people’s minds jump to running, and they compare swimming that distance to running, but really you can’t compare the two. I think that a lot of people also don’t know how hard the team works.”

The girls swim team is one of WHS’s best performing sports this year according to their undefeated record. While it is one of the better teams for the high school, many people either don’t know about its success or don’t choose to attend meets. Fortunately for the team, this doesn’t act as a big obstacle for them.

“Team morale plays a huge role in our success,” Gordon said. “Having someone come up to you when you’re behind the block saying positive, encouraging things makes a huge difference in how you feel and how you swim.”

According to Gordon, a cohesive team is necessary for the success of the swim team. Especially since there are less supporters showing up to meets than would be at other sports like football or basketball, having supportive teammates can change the outcome of a meet. With a positive atmosphere, swimmers are able to support each other and thrive throughout their events.

“I really think that swimming is a sport where if you work hard, you see the results,” senior captain Maya Lee said. “I really believe that and that’s kinda why I love it.”

Wayland swim has practices nearly every day of the week, excluding Saturdays. The practices, beginning with a team wide warmup and ending with a warm down, are time consuming and energy costing. The warm up and warm down are done to loosen muscles before beginning their workout and to loosen them so they can transition into the rest of their day without pain.

“Practices are very tough,” junior Katie Pralle. “You work really hard during practice, but ultimately everything that the coaches do, everything we have to do, it all helps so much.”

Wayland swim and dive has coaches who truly know how to condition a team for success. Head coach Michael Foley was inducted into the Massachusetts High School Swimming Coaches Hall of Fame in 2019, making him fit to lead the team to victory.

“Ultimately, everything that the coaches do and everything that we have to do, it’s all meant to help us, even if it is difficult,” Pralle said. “We have a bunch of drills for each different stroke but generally, no matter what, everyone does the same warm up.”

Some swimmers specialize in specific swimming strokes and do certain events. For strokes, they can choose between sprint freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. Pralle specializes in butterfly and backstroke, Lee does the 200 individual medley event (IM)–butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle–as well as backstroke. Gordon doesn’t have an event or stroke she typically swims.

“It is a mental sport,” Lee said. “When I was really stressed for meets I wouldn’t do as well because I would have a fear of failure. I would work really hard but not really see the results. You just need to remember it just takes time because eventually, if you are working hard, results will come.”

For some athletes, swimming can be just as tough mentally as it is physically. Just like any sport, people can find themselves not performing as well as they would have liked and be sidetracked by their fear of failure. Lee, Gordon and Pralle all mentioned the importance of having your teammates’ backs and believing in themselves and others.

“You become part of this really great community of people that have your back no matter what,” Gordon said. “I’m so proud of all the girls this year. Every meet we won, especially DCL’s, was a team effort and I’m so happy we were able to do it.”