By Samantha Stuefer – Going into doing a sports story, I expected to hear a lot about winning and how great the players are, and certain “star players” in particular. When I went to interview coaches, and even swimmers and divers from Lincoln High’s Swimming and Diving team, that’s not really what I got.
Yes, they said they feel they’ve been playing well, but I got a lot more than just that. I learned about them as a team and a family, working together and supporting each other, and how proud they are to see each other grow as individuals.
“Everybody’s working really hard, and they’re improving a lot,” coach Richard Conradt said. “They’re coming together as a team.”
“It’s going really well,” Assistant Coach Sharill Luedtke said. “We have a lot of kids who have gotten their best times, and so it’s been a really good season overall if you look at the time drops and the success the kids are having.”
“It’s fun seeing everyone improve,” Sophomore Matthew Shultz said. “It’s fun doing the meets and stuff.”
“I’ve seen a lot of growth in myself, and the whole team,” Junior Maya Gardener said.
“We’ve had a couple wins and a few losses, but that’s okay,” Swimmer competing in State and Senior Karynn Brown said. “I think we have had a lot of growth…”
Before every meet, the team gets together for what they call a “pasta feed.”
“[A pasta feed] is when Swim parents…they bring food and we eat dinner,” Gardener said.
Swimming and Diving team practices Monday through Friday, from after school until about 5:00 or 5:30 at night, except, of course, on Pasta Feed nights. They also practice on Saturday mornings.
Along with swimming and diving, players also practice on land.
“We do do some dry land with running,” said Luedtke. “We do running in the building, but if it’s really nice outside, they all beg to go outside and run around.”
Many memories were made during this season. One of Brown’s favorites was Senior Night.
“Senior night, everybody makes a tunnel – like Freshman to Seniors – and they make a little arm tunnel. And then coach says your name, and he has a little sheet of paper with some things you fill out like your favorite color, favorite food, and your future plans. And so you run through…and there’s a salt shaker (that’s coach’s thing). So it’s this big cardboard salt shaker that one of the Freshman ‘shakes on you’,” Brown said. She also liked helping teaching new Swimmers and Divers games and the practice routine.
Gardner liked the game with throwing the goggles.
“There’s some…flags above the lane rope…we took our goggles off and had a game where you and toss the goggles and see if you can get them stuck on the flags. You do that for 10 minutes, and at the end of 10 minutes the coach would shake the goggles off in the water and you go get them,” Gardner said.
The team is very close-knit and acts as a family, always supporting one another grow and never excluding anyone.
For Swimming and Diving, State competitions were held Febuary 25th through the 27th.
“They did fantastic at state. I was so happy for them,” Conradt said.
“I think we did really good,” Brown said. “I was really, really proud of our team because, especially our girls relay, nobody really even expected us to make it to state, let alone make it back the second day.”
“Lincoln High did well,” junior swimmer Payton Prall said. “We had more people this year representing us then we have ever had before in my years here.”
In state competitions, they take the top 32 ranked people, where the people who make it to state make the cut of being in the top 32. After they take the top 32, for the second day, they take the top 16, and the girls relay made 15th. The top 8 can medal.
“We had a boys and girls 200 free rely go to state, and place 15th in finals. We has two kids go in individual events, Johanna Schubert placed 14th in the 50 Freestyle and 9th in the 100 back. Garrett Brockman placed 15th in the 100 fly. So in addition to these two individuals we had two guys Noah Luedtke who competed in the 200 IM and Jesse Harvey who competed in the 100 free and 200 free, on Friday. And we had a girls and boys medley relay compete in prelims on Friday,” said Brown.
“In the State competition, I competed in the 200-medley relay, the 200-freestyle, and the 200 free relay,” senior swimmer Jesse Harvey said. “In the 200-medley relay, I think we got around 20th. The 200-freestyle I got 31st.”
In the 200 free relay, Harvey was disqualified for “rolling” his start, where he leaned forward as they were buzzing the starter.
“I competed in the one meter spring board event on Thursday and I placed 7th…well I tied for 7th out of 34 girls.” Prall said. “I’m glad to have had 2 other girls competing with me at state because last year I was by myself and the year before there was only two of us.”
“They should be proud of their accomplishments,” Conradt said.