RADFORD, Va. — “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.” What coach has not used these words as motivation for their team? Over the season, the team has had ups and downs. But through all the extra swimming and dry land sessions, the team’s ultimate goal was performing its best at the ODAC/Atlantic States Championships. Did the team succeed? Mission accomplished.
Here are a few details of how well the team performed:
- All 18 Sweet Briar Swimmers placed in either finals or consolations of the ODAC
- All 18 Sweet Briar Swimmers swam at least one personal best
- All 18 Sweet Briar Swimmers swam season-best times
- 3 School Records were broken, with the previous records being set in 1987 or earlier
Coach Kuhn was extremely proud of the swimmer’s performance. “This team went through a challenging year, both in and out of the pool. The swimmers know our program is designed to peak physically, mentally, and emotionally for the ODAC Championships. With that, there is a lot of pressure to have your best performance at this meet. With a great blend of experience and fresh faces, the team couldn’t have swum better. This was the fastest conference meet in the ODAC’s history, and we improved our position in the conference based on point totals. This only bodes well for the future”.
The following are highlights from each days swimming action.
The first finals started off with a bang! The 200 Free Relay team of Melissa Simpson, Hayley Hill, Hannah Hesser and Charlotte Greenwood placed 3rd with a time of 1:42.86. The time took on more significance as it broke the previous school record, set back in 1985. “That record was a goal of our team’s at the very beginning of the year. It was a great way to start the meet.” The next event saw Hannah Hesser place 4th in the 500 Free with a life-time best of 5:20.89. In the consolation heat, Tori Marshall placed 12th while Emily Jones finished 14th. Tori dropped six seconds from her life-time best time while Emily dropped an astounding 35 seconds! Catie Gumpman won the bonus heat with a life-time best of 5:51.73. In the 200 Individual Medley, breaststroke-specialist Hayley Hill swam a lifetime best of 2:24.51 and finished in 12th place. Laura Wolf dropped 3 seconds from her prelim swim to finish in the ODAC top 16 as well. The splash and dash produced two Sweet Briar finalist. Melissa Simpson finished 7th with her teammate, Charlotte Greenwood, right behind her in 8th place. Also placing in the top 16 were Kelsey Smith and Brooke Agee, both swimming life-time best. The 400 Medley Relay team of Melissa Simpson, Hayley Hill, Hannah Hesser and Charlotte Greenwood finished 3rd in a time of 4:14.17.
The quartet of Sam Benito, Hayley Hill, Allison Stansberry, and Tori Marshall propelled the team in the 200 Medley Relay to a 2:00.29 and a 5th place finish. Coach Kuhn was very happy with this particular group’s performance. “Each of these individuals didn’t even know they would be a part of this relay until warm-ups. I was very proud of how they responded to the challenge”. The 400 Individual Medley saw a 1-2 finish in the consolation heat by Jessica Johnson and Laura Wolf. Each improved dramatically from their morning swim. The 100 butterfly was dominated by Sweet Briar, as four of the top eight positions were held by the squad. Hannah Hesser led the group with a 3rd place showing. Tori Marshall, Allison Stansberry and Ali Gatzke place 5th, 6th, and 7th, respectively. In the same event, Sarah Hall placed 11th, Sam Benito placed 14th, and Maryanne Grey placed 15th. In the 200 free, Melissa Simpson placed 6th with a time of 2:04.67. In the consolation finals, Charlotte Greenwood dropped over 4 seconds to win her heat in a time of 2:04.11. Kelsey Smith swam a life-time best on her way to a 14th place finish. Hayley Hill represented Sweet Briar in the 100 Breast finals and placed 7th in a life-time best time of 1:13.91. Brooke Agee added valuable points with a 13th place showing. Sam Benito and Allison Stansberry provided 15 key points in the 100 backstroke with an 8th and 13th place performance. The final event of the evening ended with a new Sweet Briar school record. The 800 Freestyle Relay team of Tori Marshall, Charlotte Greenwood, Melissa Simpson, and Hannah Hesser swam to a time of 8:21.23. The previous record was set in 1987.
Day 3 began with the meet’s longest event, the 1650. Experience and youth were the stories as veteran Catie Gumpman placed 14th while first-year Emily Jones added 14 points to the team’s total. Emily’s swim was particularly impressive as she dropped over a minute to finish in 8th place. In her favorite event, Sam Benito won the consolation heat in a life-time best time of 2:23.96. Jessica Johnson placed 14th in the same event. The Vixens were well represented in the 100 freestyle, with 3 individuals qualifying for finals. Charlotte Greenwood swam a life-time best time to place 5th followed by Melissa Simpson in 6th and Tori Marshall in 8th. Kelsey Smith also scored for Sweet Briar placing 15th. Hayley Hill broke through the 2:40 barrier in the 200 breaststroke as she placed 7th in the event. In the 200 butterfly, Hannah Hesser finished her impressive individual weekend with a 4th place finish in a time of 2:22.99. Her teammate, Allison Stansberry placed 6th. Sarah Hall, Ali Gatzke, and Jessica Johnson placed 13th, 14th, and 15th, respectively. Just like Day 2, Sweet Briar finished the 3rd and final day in record-breaking style. The team of Melissa Simpson, Tori Marshall, Hannah Hesser, and Charlotte Greenwood broke the school’s 400 Free Relay record with a time of 3:48.06. Overall, the team finished in 3rd place with 538 points.