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Freestyle? More like free win!

Reagan Houpt '25

Feb 14, 2023

Last weekend, Mercersburg Academy hosted the Mid-Atlantic Prep League swimming and diving championships; the Blue Storm swimmers and divers did not disappoint, bringing home two shiny trophies. The boys' team swam away with the lead, scoring over 180 points above the second-place Peddie, an outstanding total of 522 points. On the other hand, the girls' had a more challenging path to victory. Nevertheless, the team secured first place, beating Peddie by 2 points, for 487 points in total. 

The swimmers and the divers didn't win the championship by luck but instead claimed gold through their hard work, dedication, and intense discipline. These athletes seemingly live in the Floyd Aquatic Center when classes are not in session. 

Finia Steeg '23 praised the team's dedication. "Having practice for two hours six days a week is not always easy," but championship victories prove that practice indeed pays off. The divers spent the week leading up to the championship learning and practicing new dives, "even if it meant having to sacrifice our time in the hot tub," explained Clare Ip ‘23

Although swimming and diving are "individual sports," the team dynamic was essential to the MAPL victory. "Knowing that you have a team that stands behind you and supports you gives you the confidence and power to always do your best for the team," Steeg stated. Team members surrounded the pool and wholeheartedly cheeed on the relay team as they won the first points of the meet. 

Alex Van Ess '24 had an especially outstanding performance, walking away with first place in the boys' diving competition. The girl's diving team secured the 3rd, 4th, and 5th places, narrowly earning the points needed to win the championship. As Frank Betkowski, head coach of the diving team, put it, "Without the divers, the girls team wouldn't have won the MAPL championship." As for the swimmers, Xiomara Del Rosario '26 won the 100-free event putting forth an altogether exceptional showing at the meet. 

Despite the significance of the MAPL victory, the swimmers’ and divers’ attention is on the upcoming Easterns tournament. "Focus throughout the whole year has been on Easterns, and the performances that came during the MAPL championship was just a byproduct of that," said Teddy Blake, '23. Betkowski confessed that the team treated it like any other meet, and perhaps this low-stakes mindset gave the Blue Storm a necessary advantage.

The Blue Storm swimmers and divers will face their MAPL rivals once again at Easterns. They plan to use their momentum from the championship to repeat as Eastern Champions.

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