The student run newspaper of Poolesville High School
Coach Jonathan Leong watches swimmers as they practice. Photo courtesy of Melody Zhang.

Coach Jonathan Leong watches swimmers as they practice. Photo courtesy of Melody Zhang.

Coach Jonathan Leong watches swimmers as they practice. Photo courtesy of Melody Zhang.

Swim and dive faces challenges in tougher division, looks for victory against Whitman

After winning the state swimming championships for six years in a row, PHS Swim and Dive has moved up to a more difficult division, Division I. Coming off of a winning streak for the past few seasons, the team has had a more difficult time catching up to competition. The other MCPS Division I teams for the 2017-2018 season are Winston Churchill High School, Thomas S. Wootton High School, Richard Montgomery High School, Walter Johnson High School, Walt Whitman High School, and Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

Joining a higher division “was tough at first, but we are competitive and picked up the mindset quickly,” stated senior swim captain and Global ecology student Roger Yerger.

After two scrimmages in the early season against Clarksburg High School and Richard Montgomery, the Falcons had their first meet against the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barrons on December 16. The Barrons won 94-91 against the boys, and 107-78 over the girls.

“One of the most pivotal moments this year was the dual meet against BCC, where we had some extremely close races and relays,” commented senior swim captain and Global student Katarina Lechner. “We’ve had a lot of close races this year and everyone definitely has to step up their game,” Lechner added.

PHS swim fell to both Walter Johnson and Winston Churchill in the first meets of the new year. On Jan. 6, 2018, Walter Johnson triumphed with scores of 118-67 for the boys and 102.5-82.5 for the girls. One week later, on January 13, Churchill dominated with scores of 127-58 for the boys and 102-83 for the girls. As of right now, the Falcons hold a record of 0-3-1 as a whole team.

“Our performance is progressing. We would always like to see more best times, but the swimmers and divers are chipping away at their times and improving in some areas,” Coach Jonathan Leong said, adding that the team is focusing on racing skills.

PHS Swim and Dive challenges Walt Whitman High School next, on Jan. 20.

“If we win this meet, we will stay in [Division I] next year,” Lechner stressed. “As for states, there’s definitely a lot of pressure on us to continue the legacy. No one can say for sure that we are going to win it, but we can definitely say that we will be trying our best.”

Additionally, Lechner cited additional support from classmates and friends as a motivator for the team to be successful at meets, saying “win or lose, we would love to be able to share it with our school.”

Similarly, the Dive team has faced some tough competition this season. Junior captain and Humanities student Bryce Davis expressed that although the team has an increase of new divers, “we have improved a lot as a team and a lot of people have been able to do new dives. Though we haven’t won every meet, I feel very confident about our performance this year.”

After the Jan. 20 meet against Whitman, the team will face Division III’s Damascus High School on Jan. 27. On February 3, Division I Championships will take place, preceding Metros on February 7-10.