Raiders Dive into 2019

Samantha Bailor, Staff Writer

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The ERHS swim team entered its 2018-2019 season in December, with its swimmers and coach looking forward to another year of success.

“[Our] girls are doing really well,” stated senior captain Jeanette Betke. “I think the competition in PG County is getting a little bit better, but we’re still on top because we have a lot of solid swimmers.”

The road to success, however, is often bumpy. A problem facing the team this year is its lack of male members.

“I think this season is a lot more rough because we’ve lost a lot of our good guys…[The boys] lost to Flowers by one point [because we were] missing a couple of our top swimmers, which was really painful for me,” stated junior captain Liam Roy.

“All of the boys are really feeling the pressure,” continued sophomore Danny Ontiveros. “We really miss the class of 2018, but I’m hopeful about the rest of the season and the underclassmen.”

Regardless of whether or not the boys regain their undefeated title, Coach Dave Basile emphasized that winning is not the team’s top priority. “The key is self-improvement and having fun. If we lose, we lose–as long as we’re having fun.”

A lot of the enjoyment revolves around morale. “It’s fun to be part of a team that has a lot of spirit,” said freshman Henry Couch.

Making posters and paper plate awards and cheering for friends during events are just some of the ways to keep team spirit high. “You do a lot of high-fiving,” laughed Betke.

Morale is also maintained during team bonding, such as gathering for breakfast after 6 A.M. practices. “[It’s] a family environment,” added Roy. “As a team, we mesh really well.”

While being a team is important, it is also crucial that every member performs well independently. “Swimming is a little different than…field sports [because] everyone has to do really well individually…it’s more of an individual sport [in that] you need to focus really specifically on improving your time,” stated Betke.

Sophomore Samantha Hong, a former Junior Olympics swimmer, finds reward in this. “You just feel so great because you know that when you get somewhere, it’s because of you.”

From exciting individual races to pre-meet “pasta parties,” there is rarely a dull moment on the ERHS swim team. “There’s never a time when it’s boring,” said sophomore Ethan Kelly. “It’s a great environment.”

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