by Susan Mayfield, head girls swim and dive coach
With our Girls Swim and Dive fall season postponed, I’m left reliving some of the memorable moments from our 2019 season and in turn, reminding myself how we can use adversity to grow our resilience and strengthen our team bond.
At the WIAA state championship meet last November, the final event of the evening preliminary races was the 400 Freestyle Relay, a team favorite and an event where we historically have placed very well. Our team was seeded third. The four relay swimmers raced the prelims heat, and while it was a solid effort, I knew they all had more to show in the finals the following night. However, shortly after the completion of the race, it was announced that our relay team had been disqualified for a false start. In shock and devastation, the relay team went to warm down, consoling each other and trying to make sense of what just happened. My heart sank for those four athletes and for our entire team. We would not have another opportunity to race that relay and have the traditional final swim of the state championship meet to show the times we were really capable of swimming. Disqualifications are not rare, but it’s so tough to have it happen to your team at the state meet.
I knew our team would need to dig deep the next day to ensure we could move on and focus on the many other races we had in the state finals. As the finals proceeded, the girls put forth an amazing effort, showing their resilience through and through; but still, it was lingering in the back of all our minds that we wouldn’t have that final relay swim. Nevertheless, the team bonded together and put all the focus on what would be our last race of the season, Katie L.’s 100 Breaststroke. She was seeded third in the B-final heat. Our entire Lakeside team convened together and stood behind Katie’s lane, cheering her on while she raced. Katie performed extremely well and ended up winning the heat and dropping over a second from her prelims time.
This picture is taken right as Katie touched the wall, our team intermixed amongst the lane timers, looking up at the scoreboard and expressing the thrill of her victory. I love the expressions of pride and excitement on our faces!
While we didn’t have that final relay swim to cap off the 2019 season, the team had this moment where everyone united together, put our disappointment behind us, and found joy in creating a new memory. As the meet came to a close and the 400 Freestyle Relay finals proceeded in the background without us, our team was at the other end of the pool deck, laughing and taking pictures together, congratulating one another, and savoring the final moments of the season – even if those moments were not the ones we had imagined.
Follow Lakeside Lions girls and boys swim and dive on Twitter at @LakesideLionsSD.