Mechanicsburg swim team celebrates moments both in and out of the pool

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Sarah Rice, Reporter

Nothing heightens the senses quite like a visit with the Mechanicsburg swim team. The smell of chlorine burns your nose while heat and humidity radiate from the pool and onto your skin. Deafening cheers bounce off of the walls and the sound of splashing water never ceases. Your eyes try to follow each swimmer as they race across the pool, but your vision ultimately lose focus amid all the flailing limbs and water ripples. From the athletes to the coaches to the spectators, there is never a lack of activity at a swim meet.

 

January 21’s swim meet was no exception. Family, friends, teachers, and community members filled the stands in anticipation for the night’s events, which included the Class of 2020’s Senior Night. With eleven seniors on the roaster and a competitive match against Red Land, the energy was electric.

 

The Lady Wildcats had a strong start in the first event, with a first place win in the 200-yard medley relay. Teammates Bella Rudy(9), Molly Snyder(12), Faith Evans(9), and Alicia Hahn(10) swam a 2:04.65, setting a strong tone for the events to follow. Nine of the twelve events resulted in a first place victory for the Wildcats, and their hard work paid off for a final score of 116-48. Winning this meet allowed the girls team to maintain their undefeated record of 9-0.

 

The boys team matched the effort and energy of the girls team, finishing with a final score of 100-70. Building off of the girl’s success in the first event, the boys team also won first place in the 200-yard medley relay; Johann Riebe (12), Connor Crone (12), Steve Cahill (11), and David Gardjulis (11) raced a time of 1:58.91. While the entire team contributed to the 30 point victory, freshman Lance Ginter stood out with his first place wins in the 200-yard individual medley and the 500-yard freestyle. After their win against Red Land, the boys team holds a record of 6-3.

 

Despite all of the excitement both in and out of the water, the highlight of the night came directly after the 50-yard freestyle event. During a scheduled intermission, the focus of the meet shifted towards celebrating both senior athletes and their late coach Linwood Nester. The team honored Coach Nester, who passed in November after battling cancer, with a plaque dedicated in his memory. Besides the team all wearing green ribbons on their swim caps, each senior also shared a favorite memory of their beloved coach. From stories about their coach’s lighthearted humor to his passion for the sport, Mechanicsburg’s seniors captured the spirit of a man who not only impacted them as athletes, but also as people. 

 

Like any high school sport, swimming is not just about the number of wins and losses. It builds character, creates relationships, and promotes hard work- both in and out of the pool. By the end of the meet, it became clear that the celebration was not just about coaches and athletes. It was about mentors, friends, and relationships that leave lasting impacts long after the high school season ends.