As women’s swimming, diving team pushes for 34th consecutive State win, freshmen feel pressures, motivation to make roster, continue streak

BREAST+STROKE%3A+Swimmer+and+freshman+Berit+Berglund%2C+swims+breastroke+at+the+Carmel-+HSE+dual+meet+on+Dec.+17.+Berglund+said+despite+having+experience+swimming+with+Carmel+Swim+Club+in+previous+years%2C+she+has+felt+new+pressures+since+joining+the+women%E2%80%99s+swimming+team+as+a+freshman.+She+added+that+the+high+school+team+is+more+competitive+and+serious+than+she+experienced+in+the+Carmel+Swim+Club.

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BREAST STROKE: Swimmer and freshman Berit Berglund, swims breastroke at the Carmel- HSE dual meet on Dec. 17. Berglund said despite having experience swimming with Carmel Swim Club in previous years, she has felt new pressures since joining the women’s swimming team as a freshman. She added that the high school team is more competitive and serious than she experienced in the Carmel Swim Club.

Natalie Khamis

Before entering high school, Berit Berglund, swimmer and now- freshman, swam with Carmel Swim Club members in her age group, participated in meets and contributed to each win or loss the club faced.

Now a semester into her freshman year, Berglund said she faces new pressures. As the women’s swimming and diving team will compete at the State meet on Feb. 14 to 15 in hopes to win its 34th consecutive title, only those placed on the roster will represent the entire team. While final rosters have not been created, Berglund is one of many freshmen who stands a good chance to compete alongside the upperclassmen who have contributed toward the winning streak in the past. And that, she said, is nerve-wracking.

“The high school team is a lot more serious than what I have experienced within club,” Berglund said. “When I was just swimming with the age groupers, we all had our designated time to compete. Now, there’s a lot more pressure to do well since not everyone will be able to compete in each event or meet.”

According to Head Coach Chris Plumb, time, not age, plays the biggest role in creating the roster. Regardless of grade, swimmers with the fastest event times are chosen to represent the team at the State competition in February.

“I would say I don’t really choose the roster, but the roster chooses itself,” Plumb said. “Ultimately, our goal is to choose the best lineup that’s going to perform the best at the State meet and making sure we balance events. I think that times speak for themselves and you put the best people up there based on season.”

While the pressure to land a spot on the roster and represent the team can seem daunting, Berglund said she uses the pressure to motivate herself.

“Overall when swimming, there’s a lot of pressure to step up and do your best for the team, but I know that State Finals for high school is a lot more nerve-wracking and a lot of the girls get nervous for that,” Berglund said. “Seeing the girls around me working hard to earn their spots on the roster and pushing to place in their events motivates me to continue to work hard and set high standards for myself.”

Like Berglund, freshman Meghan Christman said her teammates motivate her to continue to do her best throughout the season. Christman said the responsibility of representing the team is important to keep in mind when practicing and competing during the season.

“Representing something bigger than myself and doing it for not only myself but for all of my teammates, my friends and my coaches who I know have worked so hard for me and the team is what pushes me to do the best that I can be,” Christman said. “No one wants to lose the streak, so everyone kind of feels the pressure within themselves to keep the streak going, which is what motivates everyone to get better.”

With the potential of earning the women’s swimming and diving State title for the 34th year in a row, Plumb said the effort the freshman  put into every practice and meet is an indicator of how they will perform at the State meet. In addition to this, Plumb said he believes Carmel’s support of the swim team has allowed for women’s swimming and diving to succeed for as long as it has. He said that support serves to help freshman overcome any pressures they feel.

“We have all these years of affirmation and confirmation that show us, ‘Hey, if I do the work here, it will pay off in this result,’” Plumb said. “They are standing on the shoulders of giants who have all these years of support behind them, not this negative pressure. All these people with you, pulling for you and rooting for you is so important and so I think those are all things that has helped the swim team succeed.”

While representing the women’s swimming and diving team at State is a goal each team member has for themselves, Berglund said it is important as freshmen to turn around and become leaders for those who will be transitioning from club to the high school team next year.

“Most people believe that the seniors should be the main leaders of the team, which is important since they are the most experienced and can help us younger team members prepare for the season,” Berglund said, “but I want to be an individual leader as well so that when I’m older, age groupers or other club members will have someone to look up to so next year won’t be as intimidating”

In the days leading up to the State meet, Plumb said his one piece of advice to freshmen on the team is to take in the lessons from coaches and older teammates and work to better themselves each practice.

“Coming in every day ready to be a positive contributor, finding your role on the team and making the people around you better is the best thing you can do,” Plumb said. “If you can take the knowledge from the people above you and use it for the next three years, it’s going to get passed down to people who are younger than you, making them better. You just need to live in that process.”

Learn more about the CHS women’s swimmings winning streak at State here.

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