The Small But Mighty Athens Academy Swim Team

Riley Harding, Guest Writer

This year, Athens Academy will take six swimmers, three freshman and three seniors, to Georgia Tech in early February to compete at the annual high school state meet.

The team is small, with only thirteen swimmers, but everyone has been working hard all season. Practices started in mid-October, and the first meet was on October 29. Since then, the team has been practicing nearly every day to improve their strokes. Their hard work has shown off in the meets as everyone has been able to drop time, and several have been able to take top three finishes. 

In order to make it to state, swimmers need to meet the qualifying time in the events they mean to swim, and these times can be difficult to achieve. However, as head coach Tracey Hill said, “You don’t have to be an elite swimmer to be a part of the team… [Coach Jeff and I] can get them to be strong swimmers. We have proof of it with the swimmers that we do coach.” Indeed, these swimmers have had a combined twenty five state qualifying swims. Even the swimmers who didn’t make a state cut improved, and the team as a whole has dropped 155.95 seconds over the course of the season. 

Even the swimmers who won’t be going to state are a huge part of the team. Carys Younkins, an eighth grade swimmer who just recently joined the team this year, said, “The friendships I’ve made through swimming, even though it’s only been a few months, have been really great friendships that I’m going to carry for the rest of my life.” Though Carys didn’t make any state cuts this year, swimming has made a huge impact on her life, and she hopes to continue to grow as a swimmer. 

At State, Coach Hill strongly believes that the swimmers, though there are only six, will be able to do well at state. She says she fully expects some of the swimmers to finish in the top three which will be a huge accomplishment seeing as they will be racing against some of the fastest swimmers in the state. She says the work of the swimmers is phenomenal, and she can only hope that their hard work will be recognized. Even though the team is small, it doesn’t diminish the accomplishments of these swimmers in the least.