Swimming, Diving, and Splashing Away Competition


Abi Cantu

Elizabeth Ash cheers on Wests’ swimmer as they hit the wall and make the last stretch back to the finish line.

Riley Keiter

Chlorine fills the air and humidity weighs it down. A coach from Olathe South shouts to a swimmer, “Watch your pull back, it’s too slow!”. From across the fairly crowded pool at Prairie Trail, speakers pump The Greatest Showman and swimmers from schools all across Olathe frantically check the papers that give them the time, order and lane of their races. Starting with the 200 Medley, moving onto the 200 Free, then the 200 I.M., and continuing on to many others throughout the night. Even coaches are preparing, one from Olathe North showing his team the perfect diving technique my holding his arms together above his head and pretending to jump into the waters below. In the stands, a girl receives a paper from a friend listing all the events her sister is in.

Just a way down, Olathe West takes four rows of chairs, and a few people take up their practice lane. With a team of 20, 17 swimmers and three divers, some take the floor near the bleachers. Just a few minutes before the beginning, girls hastily scrawl their events down on brackets on the skin of their legs with markers, the only place they can keep notes, and a few have their friends write “OW Swim” and “Owls” on their backs. “Swimmers to their stations,” the stereos announce.

This meet has many members, bringing people from Olathe Northwest, Olathe South, and Olathe North. As head coach Maegan Ruport perfectly says it in her pep talk to the team, “This is it! The last week before championships. There’s a lot of competition, but also a big chance we won’t get last.”

The year has been frantic and full of excitement, with practices every day there isn’t a meet, besides Sundays.

“I feel we’ve been doing really well for a new school. We’ve been working really well as a team together,” sophomore Autumn Hughy said.

Their teamwork is apparent between events, as Serena Rias, Brooke Bender, and Alyssa Kailee Borland share fruit snacks behind the seating as they wait for the coming race. When Bender later would step up to the diving board to perform her dismounts and twists, they also would support her, though quietly, as no sound was allowed so the divers weren’t disrupted.

But knowing that championships are soon to follow is what really sets their nerves on edge. Being a new school puts them at a disadvantage, with fewer experienced players and fewer players at all. However, disadvantages aside, they still strive for the first place.

As the swim team makes their way up the ladder this year and in coming years, the hope the team has will help them succeed and accomplish in future endeavors, and their support for one another makes the team a family.