Swim team places third at district

20 swimmers advance to 5A region following meet filled with personal successes, Knight-Raptor camaraderie


William Perkins

Sophomore London Pangini and freshman Iris LaRue dive into the water at the start of the Girls 100 Meters Breaststroke race. Pangini placed 12th and LaRue placed 11th.

William Perkins, guest writer

The swim and dive team placed third overall in the 5A Districts Championship on Saturday, sending 20 swimmers to the 5A Regions meet this weekend. The Knights earned 177 points, following second-place Hays with 197 and first-place LASA with 420.

Freshman Iris Burns-Trahanovsky twists into a dive during the girls one-meter diving event. (Julia Copas)

To the swimmers, the meet represented more than just an opportunity for a better time but the culmination of an entire season of practice and progress in pursuit of making it to the region championship. New and veteran swimmers aspired for a spot on the podium and the satisfaction that placing in the top three brought.

For new swimmers unfamiliar with the end-of-season meets, districts proved to be intimidating as the looming threat of a season-ending short with just a single swim was a genuine possibility. Yet, despite the pressure, the team stayed optimistic.

“I was really excited for the meet,” freshman Maya Vasquez-Stegant said. “It was my chance to swim as fast as I could and make my coach, team and myself proud.”

The team knew that not everyone could go to regionals, yet rather than a deterrent, it served to solidify the support for others in the hopes of moving on as a team. Each swimmer who just missed the goal became another swimmer’s reason to push harder.

“We all suffer together, and we all celebrate together,” junior Clara Hopkins said. “The team’s community motivates me and always makes me feel supported.”

Hopkins was one of Mac’s three first-place event winners after swimming a 1:00:04 in the girls 100 free. Junior William Perkins won in the boys 50 free with a time of 24.21 and freshman Iris Burns-Trahanovsky dominated with girls one-meter dive with a final score of 437.40.

Second-place winners included sophomore Liliana Hollinger in the girls 50 free with time of 26.97 and the boys 200 free relay team (senior Atticus Adair and juniors Anderson Friday, Andrew Wong and William Perkins) with a time of 1:47.96.

Junior Andrew Wong swims his leg of the 200 free relay (Shila Gill).

On the bronze step of the podium were both 200 medley relay teams with the girls (freshman Ramona Considine, sophomores Brayden Oliver and Hollinger and Hopkins) achieving a 2:13.56 time and the boys (Perkins, Wong, Adair and senior Noah Wyrtzen) making 1:57.85. Also in third place were freshman Lily Walewski with a 500 free time of 7:08.03 and Hopkins in 100 backstroke with 1:08.61.

Swimmers supporting each other did not just end with teammates but was extended to other schools as well. While swimming against each other for the same spots, McCallum and LASA swimmers didn’t let the competition blind them from camaraderie. Sharing lunches and cheers, the two teams encouragement for each other.

“The two teams made the meet way more fun,” sophomore London Pagnini said.

The Knights and Raptors often cross paths (or rather lanes) at district meets, forming a bond that many cherish.

“I love getting to see the Mac homies,” LASA junior Brian Mcgowan said. “Maybe the real swim meet was the friends we made along the way.”

Overall the team viewed the meet with both disappointment and excitement.

“Over the course of the season, the team became so connected by their own individual goals that an overarching dream was established, connecting all swimmers as one, in the hopes of success,” Pagnini said.

The disappointment that not everyone was able to move on and that those who did, didn’t make the podium was mitigated through the shared effort in cheering for others, and the team experience of coming together, Robbing the mood of disappointment, leaving behind only raw team spirit.

Swim team members watch their teammates at the district meet (Maggie Mass).

“The meet was stressful, but at the end of the day, some people there make it worth the while,” Hopkins said.

As for regionals, senior and team captain Reva Gill feels that anxiety is an inevitable part of the process.

“My nerves aren’t gonna stop me from trying,” Gill said.

The McCallum swimmers going to regionals will compete in qualifying on Friday, separated by the top and bottom eight for either finals or consultation finals. They will swim on Saturday to determine their final sitting and final chance at state.