Winter Sports Preview: Girls’ Swim and Dive

Ben Schwartz, Photo Editor

As the start of the Manitou Springs High School (MSHS) swim season draws closer, the eyes of the Manitou community turn towards the activity at the pool. The 2019 swim season is the first year that coaches Sydney Buckley and Whitney Nuci will be taking over from previous swim coach Roy Chaney. Chaney has coached the MSHS Swim Team for many years, and though many athletes miss his familiar presence, most are also excited for the fresh perspective and coaching abilities that Buckley and Nuci will bring to the table, “I’m expecting to see a shift because the team has been run the same way for many years,” said Coco Stevens (12). Stevens is one of the co-captains for the swim team, along with Sofija Cirko (11), and she believes that the new coaches will be a welcomed change. “Even from what I’ve heard as a captain from the coaches, we’re looking at changing just a few things,” Stevens said when asked about how things might be different under the leadership of the new coaches.

Team camaraderie is something that both the team captains and spirit captains are really hoping to elevate and express this year. “I definitely think the spirit captains will come into play on that. Part of their roles is making sure everyone stays positive and, obviously, we want a positive atmosphere,” Said Delaney Sawyer (11), the captain of the MSHS dive team, which works in tandem to form the joint swim and dive team at Manitou. All three captains and the coaches are working to bridge the gap between the two teams that has been evident in the past, “I would like to change the separation between the swimmers and the divers due to our schedule differences,” said Sawyer.

MSHS Swim is looking to bring together their team to equip the newer swimmers and divers with the skills they need to succeed, as well as helping returning athletes increase their skillset. Captains are a huge part of that growth, and much of it comes from creating a positive team environment, “It’s something that’s crucial, especially for the new girls coming in, because you can’t really enjoy a sport if you’re not close with your teammates.” Sawyer said.

As far as the events of the season go, most swim members are optimistic. With new coaches and the usual influx of freshmen, as well as the loss of key senior swimmers from last year, the MSHS Swim team could take their growth to new and amazing heights with the right focus and effort. “Swimming is a sport where there’s strength in numbers and so we’re all gonna have to step up because we don’t have those numbers, but I think it’s gonna be good for us,” said Stevens, who also noted that the team had lost two very strong seniors from last year, Sydney Dolloff-Holt and Kaitlyn Cashdollar, who were half of the team’s fastest relays in 2018. But, Stevens is confident that they’ll be able to pick up with a combination of returning and new swimmers.

Events themselves are up in the air since freshmen can choose whatever events they like and there’s been a lot of talk of returning swimmers switching events to get a new perspective and challenge in their swim game. “We have a lot of flyers who are still here and they do really well,” said Stevens about successful events for this season, “I think our relays are gonna be strong and I’m hoping our 400 relay is strong.”

MSHS is excited to see where captains, coaches and members take the team this year. With any luck, the MSHS Swim and Dive Team will have an extremely successful season!