GIRLS SWIM: Ladies in the Water


Last week, the Manitou Girls’ Swim Team won their third League Championship in a row. The Prospector sat down with four of the team’s most talented swimmers, sophomore Veronica Morin, sophomore Samantha White, freshman Kethrys Buffa, and freshman Emily Doloff-Holt for an in-depth interview. The Fab Four are off to State Championships this week, on Friday, February 14, along with several of their teammates.

Prospector: How long have you been swimming?

Veronica:  On a club team since I was nine.

Kethrys: Since I was eight, on a club team.

Emily: On a club team since I was five.

P: Describe for us your success this season.

Emily: I broke a league record, which was really awesome; it was in the 100 breast stroke. I broke two Manitou records, which were the 100 fly and 100 breast[stroke], and I was on the relay team that broke a couple of records, too.

Kethrys: Yeah, what she said about our relays, we broke a lot of the records that were standing there. Then at leagues, our 400 free relay and our 200 medley relay broke the league records there, and then I got the 100 backstroke league record.

Veronica: Also, at the relay, we broke [the record for] last year’s 200 medley relay by about 8 seconds, and we’re probably gonna drop even more now at state. I’m seated first in the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle going into state and… I broke a ten-year record that Dani Quarry had for the 100 freestyle, so that was pretty cool… and then there are league records and also Mustang records.

P: What was attractive to you about swim that made you join the team?

Veronica: For high school? Well, because last year it was just so much fun. It was the best team experience, and it really feels like a family when you’re with all your friends and they’re all cheering each other on… it’s just a really, really fun experience.

Kethrys: It’s like the only sport I can do, so I just decided that that’s what I was gonna do. I’ve been swimming since I was eight, and I’ve tried other sports, but land sports and I, well, we just didn’t really like each other, so I just decided to stick with what I was good at, not fool myself or anything.

Emily: It’s the same with me, I’m not very good at any other sport and I don’t want to try a different sport because I like swimming a lot. You just can’t really keep me away from the pool, it’s easier that way.

P: What do you think is the reason for your massive success in swim this season?

Veronica: It’s definitely because we’re all so competitive. There’s just that really competitive drive in all of us, and that’s one of the reasons why our relays are seated second in state right now. We all want it so bad, I mean we’d be beating Cheyenne Mountain and all these big schools that most people end up not being able to beat, and we’d beat them!

Kethrys: I’d say it’s mostly because of our coach, Coach Roy and Mrs. Casey. The three of us have all been swimming with Roy for club team, and Mrs. Casey has come in here and she’s a really positive influence, but Roy, he’s just… I think he’s the best coach I’ve ever worked with. I’ve gone to different swim teams because I’ve moved, but he’s one that truly understands swimmers and understands how to work with all kinds of people. There are so many different types of swimmers and he’s the most amazing coach. I think that’s one of the reasons for success, is to impress him, because he’s put so much work into us and I just want to show that I, you know, listened. (Laughs)

Emily: It’s also the friendship that we all have, because we all cheer each other on so much. When we all broke league records we all were so happy for each other, and it was really emotional for everybody. It was just, that friendship you have, and all that cheering that goes on that helps you push yourself, you know, you can hear everyone cheering you on while you swim and that’s just this amazing feeling. It helps, it really does.

P: What is your thought process immediately before an event?

Emily: You can’t think about your race, because then you start panicking. That’s what I feel like, you can’t think about it, you can’t think about what you’re gonna do too much or you start to over think it, or at least that’s what I do. What I try to do is, I think about the song I was listening to before. Like, I know that the three of us, we listen to “pump up” music before we swim, so I just keep going over the lyrics in my head and it helps. It helps pump you up and get your energy going.

Veronica: I just repeat different quotes in my head that are inspirational to me, one of them being: “What you believe determines what you make true.” So you just have to believe that you’re able to swim and capable of getting that best time and winning that race, you just have to do it. You can’t think about it, you can’t try, you just have to get it done.

Kethrys: Well, with help from my coach I’ve learned that I can’t think about anything in the race, because I distract myself too much and I have too many thoughts in my head. So I just try to act naturally in the water and do what comes first, kind of like what comes as second nature, and see if it works, what I have in the water. Because there are moments when you have, like, special connections in the water when the stroke feels amazing, and that’s what I hope for before every race, that I have that space where even if my time might not be faster, that my stroke feels amazing and that I feel, like, at one with the water. That’s what I try to think of before the race.

P: Where do you see yourself in regards to swim in a few years time? Do you plan to continue?

Emily: I plan on going to college with it, and I hope that I get to the Olympics. We’re going to Sectionals this March, so it goes, like: Junior Olympics, which is state, then Zones, Sectionals, Nationals, Olympic trials, then the Olympics. So we’re kind of halfway there. At least, I hope I get to the Olympics.

Kethrys: I just hope to keep swimming to stay healthy and keep a positive attitude and everything. It really puts everything into perspective, competing and learning how to race with others and not being scared to race, and I feel like it makes me a better person to be an athlete. I hope to keep swimming, even if maybe not competitively but just to stay healthy and keep that connection.

Veronica: Just like Emily, I’ve always had that goal in the back of my head, to ultimately make it to the Olympics. My entire family has kind of had that goal; my dad, he was a really great swimmer, he had a bunch of state records. My brother, he wants to make it to the Olympics in wrestling, 2016, and I also hope to make it to the 2016 Olympics with my brother. That’s kind of the ultimate goal.

Samantha: I don’t really know, I just started realizing all of these things that I might be able to do. Like, I’m really close to making Sectionals, and I hadn’t even thought that I would go this fast a year ago. My main goal right now is to make it to Junior Nationals by the time I’m a senior, and maybe swim in college, and, I don’t even know, I’m just going to see what happens in the next year or so and the year after that and just see where I go.

P: What other sports or activities do you participate in besides swim?

{they all laugh}

Kethrys: I swim. That’s really all I do.

Veronica: Yeah, absolutely nothing. Any sport that involves anything other than water I just can’t do at all.

Kethrys: I just don’t have time, because we have club six days a week, and high school five, and right now we’re doing double practices and I just don’t have time for anything else. At least for me, I just don’t have the mental space to learn a new sport now.

Samantha: I do dance, but that’s only twice a week, so…

Veronica: I think it’s worth it for all of us though, because it’s paid off. In order to be really good at something you have to devote yourself to that, and you have to put in the time and the effort, and I would much rather be really good at one thing than just decent at a lot of stuff.

P: What’s the most rewarding part of being on the swim team?

Samantha: Just knowing that when you’re practicing and when you’re working really hard, and then you succeed, or when any of your teammates succeed, you just know that you were in that terrible place and that terrible workout, and you were all doing it together, and then when you succeed it’s a really big team moment. That’s one of the most rewarding things.

Veronica: I think that one of the most rewarding times is when you realize that your work paid off, when you know that it wasn’t all just stuff that your coach was making you do for no reason, that he wasn’t trying to punish you or anything. You were actually getting benefits out of it and then you can actually see your progress through all of your swimming.

Kethrys: Yeah, I think, just like them, for me the most rewarding part is when you finish the race and you had an amazing time. Like Veronica said, you know that all those hard workouts when you almost drowned have all paid off, and you’re all good now, and part of it is also seeing your friends succeed. Also, one of the most rewarding things for me is knowing that I have a family to come back to.

P: What is the team dynamic like?

Veronica: Oh jeez, we are, like-

Samantha: Tight knit!

Kethrys: Yeah, really tight knit.

Veronica: Definitely.

Kethrys: In our relay we’re very tight knit because we’ve all club swam before, and we all have similar life experiences and we all enjoy each others company, and so that’s very nice and we’re very close. But on the team everyone is excited for everyone else, like even if they didn’t succeed at a high level, they’re still succeeding, and it’s so nice because everyone’s just so happy for each other.

Veronica: And being a smaller team, you have to have that dynamic of everyone being a family, because you realize how important all those smaller points are and so you want to cheer for someone to get third place or fourth place or things like that so you can get those points. So many people on other teams have come up to all of us and said how great they think our team is because we are such a family. There isn’t hardly any drama and if there is, it’s resolved like that. We’re like a family, whenever there are problems we work it out and we end up becoming stronger.

P: What are your specific goals for state?

Samantha: I want to make Sectionals, and I want to win the 200 medley relay… I want to win so bad!

Veronica: I want all of our relays to win state – our 200 medley and our 200 free. I want to win state in the 50 free and 100 free and make the All American cut in the 50 free, 100 free, and the Junior National cut in the 50 free.

Emily: I want our medleys to get first, and I at least want to get top three in each of my events.

P: Veronica and Sam, you two were voted to become captains for next year. How do you feel about that?

Veronica: I am so excited about that, we are going to try to run it really smoothly and motivate the team to get their third league championship in a row.

Samantha: It should be really exciting because this has never really happened before, two juniors have never been captains before, so i think it’ll be different but it’ll be good.

 By Isabel Dufford