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The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

Swim team sees growth in numbers, persevering through limited pool time

Junior Hoang
Senior captain Miles Greene training at East Portland Community Center. The team uses their limited pool practice time to prepare for their next event.

When head coach Larry Hermida took on his role seven years ago, there were just 12 swimmers on the team. Now the program has reached a total of 35, with a wide range of experienced swimmers. Still, a major issue remains unresolved: access to facilities.

“The main challenge for us is that we don’t have enough time in the pool to really train properly because there’s a lot to it,” Hermida said. “You know, you gotta train for the turns, you gotta train for the starts and then you also have to train for endurance and your proper strokes so you don’t get disqualified.”

While Hermida’s ideal practice schedule consists of two hours a day, five days a week, the team has only an hour and a half per session, just 45 minutes of which, he said, consists of “good, hard swimming.”

Nonetheless, Hermida maintains a positive approach to coaching.

“My coaching style is more of a coach that empowers the students to become leaders and manage their own training,” Hermida said. “I like to give my students a lot of freedom to express themselves. And, you know, the main thing is we want to work hard, but we also want to have fun.”

Senior Miles Greene, a captain on the team, reflects Hermida’s emphasis on leadership by helping teammates improve from an underwater perspective.

“None of the coaches can get in the pool, so I like to watch underwater and see if they can improve underwater and give them pointers and stuff,” Greene said.

A goal for Greene this year is to reach sub 1:15 in the 100 meter breaststroke. In general, he hopes to see an increase in the frequency of PRs after last season.

“Well, last season it was fairly uncommon for people to get PRs–like every meet there would be only be a few people who got PRs–and I just want to see if we can get PRs every meet, every time for everyone,” Greene said.

Senior and captain Miriam Elfert hopes to see improvement in her speed and strength while placing less of an emphasis on times.

“I would like to cut down on times, but it’s not my number one priority,” Elfert said.

This season Elfert would like to bring more team bonding to the program. While pre-meet team dinners as well as Top Golf and water polo have been incorporated, she expressed interest in more team-bonding games and challenges as well as general celebrations throughout the year. 

“[It’s] hard to foster a team environment, because there’s not a lot of time for socializing when you’re actually swimming,” Elfert said. “So one of my goals this year as captain is to sort of cultivate more of a community around the sport and, you know, making sure that people feel connected to each other as well as enjoying the sport.”

Another type of team bonding comes from the fact that East Portland Community Center, where the team practices, is far from many on the team. This has led some to form carpools.

 “I currently carpool with three other guys who live up around [the school] actually,” Junior and captain Liam Dieffenbach said.

Elfert also noted how carpooling allowed her to save gas as while as get to know teammates who she previously was not as familiar with.

In addition to social goals, the team also carries goals around their performance.

“What we do is, in the beginning we time them,” Hermida said, “and we set the base for their PR and what they want to shoot for as far as their goals at the end of the season.” 

Dieffenbach has set a goal this season of getting sub 1:00 in the 100 meter freestyle. He hopes to see improvement on dives, team spirit and consistency of practice.

While the team is working on their goals individually, going to state proves a challenge for the team.

“That is our goal, for each student to work hard and, you know, qualify for state,” Hermida said. “But in swimming, it’s a different sport, because to qualify for state you really have to be fast and most of those that are really fast, they swim year round and they swim in a club. And so they know all the proper techniques, they know all the strokes. So it is tough to make it to state.”

Both Greene and Hermida mentioned juniors Isabelle Lu and Austin Bagby as people to keep an eye on this season. Anyone interested in supporting the team can attend meets as well as be a timer for events. The next meet will be Jan. 5 at Dishman Pool.

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About the Contributors
Lincoln Wheeler, Editor-In-Chief
Lincoln Wheeler (he/him) is a senior who loves playing hockey and guitar. He enjoys being a journalist because he wants to bring new perspectives and ideas to people.
Junior Hoang, Sports Editor
Junior Hoang (he/him) is a junior. He can do a handstand and has a dog. He joined the Oracle because Lane Shaffer wanted him to carry on his legacy.

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    MeronFeb 9, 2024 at 12:16 pm

    I liked seeing all the quotes from everyone, and there opinions on how they’re doing and the team all together.