On Wednesday, Nov. 15 and Thursday, Nov. 16, the St. Martin’s Episcopal School boys’ and girls’ swim teams traveled to Sulphur, Louisiana to compete at the state swim meet at the Sulphur Parks and Recreation Aquatic Center.
The pressure of competing at a state level has a momentous impact on the individual swimmers and on the team as a whole.
“The pressure of the state championship never fails to make me nervous,” said Junior
Lainey Pickens. “I’ve been swimming for St. Martin’s since fourth grade, so you would think I would have gotten used to it by now, but I still feel the pressure every year.”
Still, all while having this added pressure, the girls’ team overall acquired a grand third place, and the boys’ team overall came in fifth.
“It’s very exciting,” said Junior Richard Whitney. “We had a good season leading up to it this year. I’m very impressed that with six guys we managed to get fifth.”
For the girls’ team, capturing third place is a feat not achieved since 2012, which made the team as a whole feel rather accomplished with this year’s winnings.
While there were many impressive swims during the meet, some stood out above the rest. In the 200 medley relay, Senior Jesse Leboeuf, Lainey Pickens, Junior Jessie Pickens, and Senior Captain Ally Bartholomew came in fourth for the girls, and Freshman Colby Watkins, Whitney, Junior Kyle Winkler, and Senior Diego Ortega brought in fifth for the boys. In the 400 freestyle relay, Freshman Isabella Bartholomew, Senior Captain Chloe Bartholomew, Ally Bartholomew, and Leboeuf captured the No. 3 spot, dropping eight seconds from their prelims seed time. In the individual arena, Whitney earned the third place spot in the 100 butterfly.
Even after some incredible highs, there were still some bittersweet moments to come.
“I’m very proud of how the team performed,” Chloe Bartholomew said. “I will definitely miss being part of the STM swim team; being captain for such a great group of teammates was really a privilege. I’ve been swimming with some of these people since middle or even lower school. It’s been great growing up with them as teammates.”
As this year’s swim season came to a close, the swimmers reflected on how they and their teammates, both new and old, came together to grow stronger than ever before.
“It was a lot of fun, and we were really working towards something,” said Senior Elizabeth Kuehne. “We gave it our all.”