Thomas Jefferson

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Splashing into the New Year

Posted 03/07/2016 by Olivia Fullerton

The girls' swim team finishes another successful meet. photo by Michael Katsman

The girls’ swim team reflects on an eventful season.     

TJ’s girls’ swim team came into the year with a bang, and won first place in B-League and tied for third in A-League, in addition to several individual accomplishments. With the addition of two new coaches in Justine Sullivan and Allison Brown, along with many new swimmers, the season has been one to remember.

 It was another successful year for members of the girls swim team, as many swimmers qualified for A-League, which occurred on February 6th, 2016. A-League is a competition for swimmers who have met certain times; the following swimmers qualified: Senior Rachel Brandoff, juniors Halie Hall, Hillary Holcomb and Olivia Fullerton, and sophomores Caroline Lefevre, Camy Guenther, and Sophia Ward. Following months of dedication, the swimmers’ last meet of the season was filled with joy as many other teammates came to support.

The entire team strove to enhance their strength and perseverance in order to get to where they ended the season. Junior Brooke Moore, a transfer student from George Washington High School, has already developed a strong connection with her teammates. “The season went really well, and the team was definitely trying to improve as a group; we have done more bonding recently, which is really fun,” she described. Coming in this year stronger than ever, junior Sydney Gonzalez was once again the sole State qualifier. At State, February 12th and 13th, Gonzalez placed 9th in the 200 IM and 12th in the 100 Breaststroke. Balancing school, a club swim team, and TJ’s swim team, Gonzalez has been working extremely hard to achieve her goals. Since the start of the season, she has qualified for State in the 200 Individual Medley (IM), 100 fly, 100 breast stroke, and the 200 freestyle.

Along with the hard work of the swimmers, two new coaches have helped lead the girls to greatness. Head coach Sullivan and assistant coach Brown have arrived on the scene this year and have been credited with much of the team’s success. Both have coaching and swimming experience, and used their knowledge to help prepare the Lady Spartans. In addition to coaching at TJ, Sullivan also coaches a club team called the Tritons, as well as attending school and keeping up with another job. Sullivan commented, “Coaching these girls has really been a great part of my life so far, and I love being able to enhance their skills and get to know them.”

With so many new faces this year, TJ had larger JV and varsity teams. Supporting the JV team, Brown has put in immense volunteering hours and has worked to make the team the best it can be. “I love being an assistant coach,” Brown explained. “I have had a great experience and all the girls are working very hard; it’s been fun to see everyone transform from the beginning until now.”

Sadly, the season was the last for many of the girls on TJ’s team. Seniors Julia Turnbow, Erika Racine, Camille Moore, and Rachel Brandorff will all be graduating in the springtime, leaving behind another great year of swimming. Turnbow, having been on the team for all four of her years at TJ, has seen vast changes and transformations, and nostalgically described, “I’m going to miss a lot of good people that I’ve spent so many years with.” Being a large part of the team, the seniors will be greatly missed. Overall, TJ’s Girls’ swim team had an amazing season, representing the school with pride as they triumphed at both A and B-leagues.