Girls swimming finds success in young team

   The Lady Broncs swimming and diving team was considerably younger than they were in previous years, but the team preferred to look at the season as a rebuilding opportunity. “[This] allowed for the focus of the season to be on fostering a positive and competitive atmosphere,” said senior diver Alicia Thoney. While only possessing a total of 16 athletes, the team managed to assemble a respectable season with a fifth place finish at the state meet. 

   Throughout the season, the previously mentioned positive atmosphere shined through and helped the team improve. “Nearly all of our girls showed consistent improvement by the state meet,” said assistant coach Adam Martin. The girls entered the season with clear cut goals for each one of themselves, and they were determined to accomplish what they had laid out early in the season. Some of the team began to struggle as they entered the mid-season grind, but their hard work paid off when the conference and state meets came around and they were able to continue to improve. 

   At the state meet, senior Zoe Robison took fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke and second in the 200 yard individual medley. For the divers, Thoney finished sixth in the diving competition. These two were the only seniors on the team, but they pushed to inspire and support the team. “We did a nice job of leading the team throughout the season,” said Robison. With limited senior leaders, the duo stepped up to try to provide the most successful and productive season they could. The seniors are leaving behind a team culture that makes swimming and diving enjoyable, while also competing at a high standard.  

   Under the limited senior leadership, the underclassmen were tasked with stepping up in big ways and they did just that. The younger athletes worked to inspire themselves and others as the season progressed. “[Underclassmen] held a growth mindset throughout the season which was a big part of their success,” said Martin. It is common for younger teams to fold during tough seasons, but these athletes proved they are willing to accept a challenge and will help each other compete at their highest capabilities. 

   Ultimately, the seniors and underclassmen are on the same team, and the sound chemistry among the team helped propel the season. The overall small number of athletes supported the creation of many close and personal relationships among the girls and helped to establish a tight knit culture. All of the athletes were willing to support each other during hard workouts or intense competitions. During tough times the team was able to come together to help each other to continue to get better and maintain a positive outlook on the season. The impressive team chemistry directed the swimmers and divers in positive directions over the course of the season and established a benchmark for future classes to achieve as they continue their time in the program. 

   While focusing on the accomplishments of the season is important, it is equally important to analyze challenges of the season and assess how to avoid those in the future. The team found it difficult at times to compete against other programs who had over double the 16 athletes the Lady Broncs had, but they did their best to overcome the adversity. This challenge presented itself at state but the team came together to battle through it. “Many girls had to swim back to back in their races at state, but I think they really handled that challenge well,” said Robison. Competing in races back to back is difficult, but the team did not use it as an excuse and simply saw it as another goal to accomplish. With this mindset, they were able to go out and do what they had been practicing for all year. The Lady Broncs continued to battle throughout the season until the end of the state meet and did not allow any challenges to hold them back. 

   By coming together and continuing to focus on self improvement and team improvement, the Lady Broncs accomplished a progressive season of creating fundamentals for the younger athletes. The seniors are leaving the program with a clear definition of success and standards for future teams.  “Like all sports, athletes will ebb and flow, but with outstanding coaches such as Wendy Vigil, Brent Moore, and Adam Martin, there will always be a bright future for Lady Bronc Swimming and Diving,” said Thoney. With experienced upcoming athletes and coaching staff, the Lady Broncs Swimming and Diving team is not a program to be dismissed or underestimated.