The Final Lap: State Swim and Dive

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The Wesleyan Wet Wolves competed in the GHSA State Swim and Dive Meet at Georgia Tech on Feb. 6-8 making their mark in the 1-3A Division for swimming and diving. After a regular season full of long main sets, Texas tumblers, diligent dives, kicking drills and no-breathers, all their hard work payed off in the end at the state meet.

This time of the season is favored by Head Coach Kevin Kadzis who said, “My favorite thing is when the team gets smaller, it gives everyone the chance to get to know each other better, but also I just really enjoy the process of getting everyone ready to do their best at the state meet which we worked towards all year long.” Both teams placed on the podium. With the boys finishing runner-up to The Westminster School and the girls placing third overall, Wesleyan was able to prove its strength as a 1A school. For the first time in Wesleyan swim history, all individual event swimmers and relays were able to make it back to finals. With multiple personal records, a new school record and 13 new top ten times for the school, every member of this year’s state team performed at their highest level of the season against some of the fastest schools in Georgia.

The dive portion of the meet took place on Feb. 6 where junior Jacob Price represented the Wesleyan dive team well for the third year in a row by placing third amongst many other top divers in the state. As the only diver to represent Wesleyan, Price said, “There was some added pressure to do my best for the team by scoring as many points as I could, but I [did not] let that get to me.”  Price performed 12 dives for the judges, but his first dive really set the tone for the rest to follow. Price said, “My favorite memory [from the meet] was probably when I did my first inward one and a half; it went extremely well. When I got out of the water, I saw Coach Jonathan Nye on the other side of the pool with his arms raised. I could tell that he was very happy with how I started, and that dive set the tone for the rest of the competition.” With more motivation than fear going into the meet, Price said, “I went in ready to compete, and I faced some really good competition. Overall, I would say my diving went pretty well, and I was happy coming away from it with the bronze.”

A 5 a.m. wake-up call hit hard for the swim team on Feb. 7. With a morning prelim’s session, early nerves kicked in which ultimately drove the swimmers to perform their very best that day. Kadzis said, “I am always a little nervous [before prelims]. It’s a healthy anxiety. In a multiclassification meet with over a hundred schools, there are so many different scenarios, but I am always optimistic. I believe in the process that we have and the training cycle.” With optimistic views from Kadzis and the other coaches, it inspired the swimmers to go into each race feeling confident in the end result. All individual swimmers and relays placed top 30 which resulted in them being able to make it back to finals the next day. Kadzis said, “I was very impressed with the results from prelims. Every single swimmer that swam an individual event in prelims qualified to return to finals on Saturday. All six of our relays made it back to swim in finals too.”

The swim team returned to Georgia Tech the next day for finals. There were strong performances from all relays, especially senior Hannah Wasmuth who finished second for 1-3A in 200 freestyle and first for 1-3A in 100 backstroke. She received her gold and silver metals on the podium proudly. Her backstroke record will be displayed on the Wesleyan record board in Davidson Natatorium. On the boy’s team, senior Lindsay Rappe said, “Colton Villa placed 7th in the 100 free with a 47.97, and Christopher Harrell placed 6th in the 50 Free and had a personal record in the 100 free swimming a 48.10.” Senior Isaiah Erb finished strong in breaststroke along with freshman Caroline Stewart. Junior Carson Schiller placed eleventh in the 100 freestyle with a personal record, and freshman Henry Wasmuth pushed through the 500 freestyle placing sixth for 1-3A boys. Kadzis said, “Finals went very well. They had a fantastic meet and a thrilling finish.”

There were seven seniors on this year’s state team who all greatly contributed to the team, whether it was outside the pool through leadership or inside the pool through scoring points. Seniors Caroline Willis, Lindsay Rappe, Hannah Wasmuth, Christopher Harrell, Colton Villa, Jack Godfrey and Isaiah Erb all made a lasting impact on the swim program. Rappe said, “As a senior, it is crazy to think that this was my final swim season. I am definitely going to look back on this sport with so many fond memories including the brutal Christmas practices. That is when the team would bond [the most] since we all felt like we were dying! I will miss this sport, the coaches and the team greatly.”

The Wet Wolves overall performed to the best of their abilities and were able to bring home a state swim and dive runner-up title and third place title. This was a major improvement from past years. Kadzis said, “We had been really close to improving the last couple of years, but for the boys to get second place after having been third for two years in a row and for the girls to get a third place finish on the podium after finishing fourth for four years in a row, that little bit of improvement meant the world to me as a coach. I know it meant a lot the swimmers and divers to reach our full potential individually and as a team.”

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