Memorial swim splashes into their season

Memorial+swim+dives+headfirst+into+the+new+season.+

Kenna Dufrene

Memorial swim dives headfirst into the new season.

Bridget Nye , Managing Editor

As the school begins the transition.from fall sports to winter sports, it can be an exciting time for students. As the basketball players are gearing up for their first game of the season, the wrestlers are warming up for their first tournament. But that’s not all of the talented athletes at this school. The last sport on the lineup for this winter is the Edmond Memorial High School (EMHS) Varsity swim team. 

The EMHS swim team has been hard at work since before the school year even began. The swimmers started to adapt to one another back in the early days of summer. Knowing that joining a new team can be an intimidating experience for students, the older teammates decided to make the younger members feel welcome by hosting small events to bring everyone together. 

“Everyone on the team has been really great. They have been very welcoming and have made sure to include the freshmen,” freshman Julie Whitaker said. “I was actually surprised when I first met the team because everybody told me that people don’t like the new kids, but then I met the team and realized they didn’t hate us.”

The swimmers began their daily practice schedule at the beginning of the school year. All three of the Edmond Public Schools’ (EPS) swim teams practice together at the same time. This is one thing that sets this program apart from others at this school. The Edmond teams aren’t rivals; in fact, they are neighbors. 

“One of my best friends is Addie Khlem who is on the North Varsity team. Even though we practice for different schools we still see each other every day,” sophomore Addi Trout said. 

Last year, EPS made Oklahoma swimming history by creating the first middle school swim teams in the entire state. Each of the middle schools that feed into the same high school became one group. For instance, Central Middle School and Cimarron Middle School worked together on the same squad, called the Memorial JV swim team. Creating middle school swimming gave the younger students an opportunity to give the sport a try and improve their skills before moving up in the ranks. 

“Being on the middle school team helped by showing me a small glimpse of what the high school team would be like,” Whitaker said. “The team aspect is very much the same with doing all the chants and cheering for teammates. It really showed me what the atmosphere is like.”

Not only are the underclassmen ramping up for the new season, the upperclassmen are just as excited. Senior and Boys Captain Connor Tipton has been setting the example for the team every day. Being one of the first people at the pool and in the water shows the rest of the team how they should be performing at practice. 

“As a captain, I am responsible for the well being of the team,” Tipton said. “I am looked at as a role model for the younger boys and I strive every day to try to set a good example of what to be like, both as a high schooler and a swimmer.”

With the season just beginning, the swimmers are learning which events are right for them. These athletes can participate in the strokes of freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. With each person on the team having their own strengths and weaknesses, the coaches have had to come up with different ways to have everyone on the same page. 

“The team has been doing great this year so far and are preparing for a variety of events for this season,” Memorial’s Head Swim coach Mahlik Davis said. “We prepare for this early on in the year by trying to create different ways for the teens to understand each stroke whether it be a drill or a game.”

With the seniors preparing for their final season, it can be a bittersweet moment. With any activity, there are people who decide that this is not for them and have left the program. Continuing to swim while others have left can be a hard decision for anyone in the sport. But that didn’t discourage these EMHS Bulldogs, they are here to finish strong. 

 “I continue to do it for the love of the sport. There is something different about swimming than any other activity,” Tipton said. 

Swimming is known for being an individual sport, but Memorial is trying to flip that script. From hosting group bonding to including everyone in every practice, they are starting to become a great group of not only athletes but teammates. These competitors really are proving that there is no “I” in team.

“Not only did we grow in size, talent and heart, we grew as a team from last year to this year,” Davis said. “I give all credit to my seniors, they saw that last year’s “team” swam together but didn’t compete together. It was more about ME instead of WE. [This year] they planned things over summer and got the freshman accustomed to Memorial swimming. They took the time to put in work during the break so that when it got down to business, everyone was ready and it showed.”

With everything in mind, this is going to be an interesting season for the Varsity swim. Come out to Mitch Park Tuesdays and Thursdays through February and support these Bulldogs as they give their best doggy paddles. 

Contact Bridget Nye at [email protected]