Swim and dive teams open season with wins

The boys are coming off back-to-back-to-back state titles, and the girls captured the state runner-up title last season


Photo courtesy of Lifetouch

Senior Mac Richardson competes in a race last season. Richardson and his senior teammates hope to lead the Golden Lions to their fourth consecutive state championship.

Casey Ver Meulen, Staff Writer

The swim and dive teams picked up right where they left off last year as they opened their season on November 5 when both the boys and girls soundly defeated rival Marist. Several athletes already earned times needed to qualify for the state meet in February, and sophomore diver Julia Herring set a pool record with a score of 346.6.

The boys are looking to win their fourth consecutive state title this year, and the girls are coming off a runner-up title. The coaches and athletes shared their thoughts about the upcoming season as they begin their quest to stand atop the state podium once again.

How excited are you about the start of this season?

Swim and Dive Assistant Coach Mrs. Katie Stilson: Extremely excited!  It’s one of the best parts of my year!

Senior Ian O’Hara: I’m really excited about the start of the season. I always love seeing everyone come back together for the same cause every year.

Senior Frankie Maloof: I am stoked! It represents the first time I can compete as a Golden Lion since the shortened spring, and I cannot wait! As a team, I know we could not be more excited to get in the water, even though it looks a little different this year.

Sophomore Kathleen O’Shea: I am very excited to get back in the water. Although there are many setbacks considering the virus, I am so happy that we are able to swim and get back into it. There’s nothing like some sore shoulders from the first week of practice.

What are your predictions for the upcoming season? Will we be able to make a run for the championship title again?

Stilson: I think it’ll be a good season — we have a lot of great returning kids and some very talented new ones.  We’ll have to see how other teams look before making any state predictions, but I’m proud of how they’re practicing so far.

O’Hara: I feel really confident in this team for this season. We might be facing some challenges with everyone not being able to practice together, but I think that will push people to work harder for the team. We have talent on both sides of the board this year. I think the boys are set so we can make a deep run at state, and I’m really excited to see the young talent on the girls’ team and how they can come together for their runs this year and the next few.

Maloof: Our coaching staff teaches us that we should expect to win every time we step on the pool deck and let that confidence carry over into the water. I believe we have all the pieces necessary on both the boys’ and girls’ team to make a run for a couple more banners this year, hopefully adding on to the great legacy of the St. Pius X swim and dive program. All we have to do is put in the work!

O’Shea: As a team of St. Pius X, the championships are always in view. With the help of our seniors and upperclassmen as well as many from younger classes, we definitely have the potential to pull through and catch a dub.

Why do you enjoy being a part of the swim and dive program? 

Stilson: I enjoy getting to know the kids outside of class, planning lineups with Coach Carter, driving the bus to practice, and meeting the new kids who ride with me.

O’Hara: I enjoy swimming because of the training schedule it keeps me on, I enjoy going to swim meets with friends, and I think the connection each swimmer has with our coaches is special.

Maloof: My teammates, especially the seniors this year. Shoutout Ian O’Hara, Mac Richardson, Liam Murphey, Cara Granelli, Courtney Kosek, and MVP Henry Halloran! [Also] Coach Carter’s pre-meet speeches. No explanation needed. [And] I can compete in the same program as my two little sisters, Anna and Amelia.

O’Shea: I enjoy being a part of the swim and dive team because of the family atmosphere. Everyone is always very supportive, and we push each other to be the best we can be. The coaches play a huge part because they bring us together and show us how if each of us work hard, it can contribute to the team as a whole and even lead us to a win. Finally, the pain. It makes me feel like I can do anything.

Does competing on a sports team make you a better student or teacher? If so, how?

Stilson: It forces me to prioritize my time and figure out which activities are the most important.  

O’Hara: Being a student-athlete allows me to manage my time better. I notice myself putting assignments off until the last minute when we aren’t in season but being able to manage after practice and meets.

Maloof: Athletics makes me a better student and worker because I am forced to incorporate time management into my schedule every day. Also, facing adversity and overcoming it, especially during practice, teaches me to fight through tough times and never give up. This is a skill that carries over to school and later on in the workforce.

O’Shea: Being a student-athlete makes me determined and focused on what I need to get done. It helps me switch mindsets when I am either in the pool or in the classroom. I know that there is little downtime when being a student-athlete, but I think that only makes us work harder and get better with academics and athletics.

What is the best part about competing?

Stilson: Winning!

O’Hara: My favorite part about competing is the atmosphere the team can create. It’s an energy that’s been built up over many years and is carried on by each incoming class.

Maloof: The best part of competing is knowing that you can do something within your own power to defeat your opponent. Coach Carter always tells us that it’s simple: “If you want to win, just touch the wall first!”

O’Shea: The best part of competing is setting a goal for yourself and beating it. It is a very great feeling. Also, if one of your friends beats their goal or time as well, that is very good.

The team’s next meet is on December 3 against Greater Atlanta Christian.