Pride and Tradition


Adisyn Sawaska (10) Jourie Willson (9) Hanna Spoolstra (10) hug after the 400 yard freestyle relay. The girls sat on the first place podium after swimming there best time.

Lilah Nelson

Friday, Feb. 1, the Sectional girls swimming and diving team competed in preliminaries to see who would make it back to the finals which were held on Saturday, Feb. 2, in the natatorium of Lake Central. Competing against 13 teams that placed for finals, the girls team has been competing for the Sectionals championship for 15 years, always coming close. This year the girls battled against their arch rivals the Munster Seahorses. Pulling out a win with a score of 473.5, Munster got second with a score of 454. Mia Rinaldi (12), one of the captains of the team, shares what she thinks before preliminaries.

“Being a captain on the team has really prepared me for this moment waiting for Sectionals and getting the team in the right mindset before their races and for this meet. This is one of our most important meets besides State. I really hope my motivation is [going to] pay off for the team today,” Mia Rinaldi (12) said.

In the preliminaries’ first individual event, Abbey Lawson (11) dropped a minute in the 200 yard freestyle. Hanna Spoolstra (10) dropped one second from her best time, winning the heat with a time. Jillian Murray (12), another captain for the team, comments on how preliminaries have gone.

“We have trained really hard this year and it helped us get here today so I just hope that tomorrow we can all motivate each other and have fun to get what we have been working for this season,” Jillian Murray (12) said.

The next day, the girls warmed up for their races by stretching and listening to music together. Pumping the team up, the three captains lead the girls team cheer for one of the last times this season. Allie Bellfus (12), another captain for the team, talks about the team.

“Personally I have felt really good this season. I feel a lot stronger than I have and I’ve been swimming for four years so I’m really confident in the team. [For] Sectionals, I have full confidence that we are going to be able to win if we have the right mindset and trust in our hard work,”Allie Bellfus (12) said.

Having several great events in a row, the crowd cheered for the girls. Coach Todd Smolinski shares how hard the team has been working this year.

“This season has definitely been challenging but we have a lot of talented swimmers on the team who always work hard.” Todd Smolinski said.

The crowd cheered and each team was on the edge of their seats. Finishing first by three seconds, the relay swam their best time of 3:32.37. Mia Rinaldi talks about the end of the season.

“It’s really bittersweet for me. I’ve been on this team for four years and I’m so proud of us for winning. Part of me is sad to go but I also know there is time for other things and to move on and see a new generation of our pride and tradition,” Mia Rinaldi (12) said.

The team rejoiced by pushing Coach Todd Smolinski in the pool after they announced that Lake Central had won the 2018-19 Sectionals Championship meet.