Sea Lions dive into new season at Ivy League Relay Carnival


Sarina Shah, Contributing Writer

The Boys and Girls Varsity Swim teams made a splash in their season opener as multiple swimmers reached their best times at last Monday’s Ivy League Relay Carnival. 

The Carnival was a great chance for swimmers to get adjusted to the team, Boys Varsity Swim Coach Michael Duffy said. “The Relay Carnival is a non-scored event and it gets the new kids, who haven’t swam in a big competitive meet before, used to high school swimming.”

The team usually competes against another team in meets, but the Carnival is unique because there are no individual competitions, Girls Varsity Swim Coach Thatcher Woodley said. 

Swimmers practiced a variety of different events at the meet. Isha Krisnamurthy (12) swam the 4 x 100 medley (butterfly, backstroke, breastroke, freestyle), 8 x 50 medley relay, and 4 x 50 fly relay.

Woodley noticed a range of emotions amongst the newer and more advanced swimmers, he said. “The team exhibited some nervousness, which is normal during the season’s first meet,” he said. “I look forward to watching swimmers learn to deal with situations that exude tension and stress. I am reminding the team that the best resource in such situations is finding courage through one’s teammates and also being there for each other.

With a generation of swimmers graduating and a new one coming in, Krisnamurthy was skeptical about how the team would perform, she said. “We were a bit unsure about our performance, but the team ended up doing really well.”

“Everybody put in a lot of effort, and we were all cheering for each other,” Dylan Montbach (10) said.

The team’s supportive nature contributed to their high energy off the bat, Duffy said. “Support is a large part of the team’s success,” he said. “The first thing is for everybody to understand what it means to be a good teammate, and that might mean sacrificing your best event [so a teammate can swim].”

A few weeks before the event, Duffy and Woodley introduced an analogy of holding a rope to illustrate the importance of teamwork, team member Alicia Li (9) said. “They asked us, if you were dangling at the end of a cliffside by a rope, who would you want holding the end?” she said. “The coaches always tell us that by the end of the season, you want to look everyone in the eye and know that they’re going to hold your rope.” With her teammates’ support fueling her, Li decreased her 50-meter butterfly time by one second at the meet.

After the Carnival, the team elected two members who supported the team and “held the rope” best: Montbach and Jojo Mignone (11). 

Support comes in all forms and in various ways, Mignone said. “In a sport like swimming where it’s individual, having somebody cheer you on everytime you take a breath, telling you to keep going, really makes an impact,” she said.

The team plans to continue strengthening their bond throughout the course of the season. As a senior, Krishnamurthy aims to cultivate a welcoming environment to ensure that everybody feels happy and included, she said.

The swim team also hopes to succeed in the Ivy Preparatory League Championships in February. “Trinity is an especially good swim team with a lot of good swimmers, but I think we can do really well and get far,” Montbach said.

Last year, the team was extremely successful, Woodley said. “The team scored second during championships, but we try not to put expectations around numbers and instead focus on process driven goals.”

Since practices began, swimmers have significantly improved their stamina and skills. “The first practice I was really struggling, but yesterday, when we did the same set, I was feeling significantly better,” Zach Hornfeld (9) said.

This is shaping up to be an amazing season, Duffy said. “Everybody thinks of swimming as an individual sport, but when you come together and swim as a team collectively, it feels different.”