IR girls swim team poised for best season in history
The Indian River High School girls’ swim team has notched at least one more win in each subsequent season since the program was formed in 2009 and, this year, coach Donna Smith believes they will finally finish with a record better than .500.
“This is our first year we’re going to break .500,” Smith predicted, expressing her confidence in this year’s squad. “We’ve never had a .500 season, but this year we’re going to — that’s my prediction. This is our fifth year. Every year, we’ve won one more meet. We’re just super-stoked.”
Led by senior captain Karlie Smith, junior captain Marissa Fox, sophomore Lauren McCoy and freshman Lindsey Grow, the team could end up with multiple swimmers placing top three in multiple events in the conference this year, according to Coach Smith.
“These four girls should place top three in the conference. They should do very, very well in their relays. Individual events, they should be top five, as well. They’re going to do awesome.”
“I think we’ve made a lot of improvement from last year,” said Fox of this season’s outlook. “I think our team is way stronger than it was. I’m really proud of the freshmen coming in. They’re really putting themselves out there.”
“We got a lot of new freshman and people coming out for the team that are helping us have a successful season so far,” Karlie Smith chimed in.
Similar to what the IR boys’ team struggles with, the girls did acknowledge that they need more swimmers to commit to the team — which includes driving to and from Georgetown every day after school to practice at the team’s home pool at the Howard Ennis School.
“Swimming does take a lot. It’s not only stressful on your body, but you’re tired a lot,” Karlie Smith explained.
Coach Smith also emphasized the commitment needed for the sport.
“It’s such a commitment. These kids are putting so much into it. Parents are telling me [that their] kids are exhausted but they’re happy, because they’re in shape and it’s rewarding — it’s teaching them great skills.”
Despite the added commitment, the girls and Coach Smith agreed that the payoff is not only success in the water, but the feeling of camaraderie they said is unmatched by other sports.
“It’s a bond that we all have,” explained Fox. “We’re pulling each other in it. We’re all sticking together. We’re all pushing each other. I feel like swimming is the closest sport that I [participate in] because we go through so much.”
“It’s like one unit. The kids have fun,” Coach Smith said of the unique team atmosphere. “That’s what makes it special. It’s a really cool sport. We have a great time.”
One of the bright spots for the future of the team is Grow — who, as a freshman, has a chance to place high in the conference.
“I’m open to swim any event, because I’m out here for the team,” said Grow.
Currently, the girls have a 2-3 record, having had to face larger schools, such as Sussex Tech and Cape Henlopen, early on, but they’ll have a strong chance to make some headway in the conference in the coming weeks. Up next, the Lady Indians will face Lake Forest on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at the Howard Ennis School in Georgetown at 4 p.m.