When we left you last the WCA Eagle Swim girls team had just pulled off the unlikely if not unthinkable….marching into VISAA State Champs and placing 2nd in Division II and 11th overall out of over 45 teams…with just 4 swimmers. This season the team and coaches have an even loftier goal in mind: a State Championship. “Last year was a lot of fun watching our girls raise that plaque,” said Team Coordinator Jeff Sullivan. “It would be an incredible feat to come back and win a title, I think we have a chance with the swimmers we have coming back.”
With two juniors, a sophomore and an 8th grader on the squad last season, all four are returning and could be even better than last season. In addition, the team is growing. WCA has added two capable new swimmers to the varsity in 8th graders Sisi Mileski and Bekah Kish, giving them more versatility. But the key to team success will be the improvement of the ‘big three’: Senior Lainey Flanagan, Freshman Delaney Gibbons, and Junior Kaitlyn Sullivan, all of whom scored points with top 16 finishes in the championship meet, with Sullivan scoring in the top 8 in both of her races. In addition to this factor, is the slight step backward of last year’s title winner, Trinity Christian School, which has lost a key member of their top 8 relay team to graduation. To tip the scales and have a chance at that coveted state title plaque, though, both Sullivan and Gibbons will need to improve their finishes in the final standings, and Lainey Flanagan will need to hold serve while dual competing in swim and basketball. The progress of the young 8th graders will bear watching too, as a substantial improvement by both could elevate the team’s place finish in the two available relay races, which count for double points.
In addition to the girls, WCA is swimming a few boys at the varsity level as well for the first time. Freshman Jacob Thibeault and 8th grade breaststroke specialist Jack Marlowe are already successfully participating at the varsity level, as well as returning freshman swimmer Josh Kish. Thibeault has already set record marks in the 200 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke, and newcomer junior Joel Pho shows promise as well, helping the boys break the school record for the 200 Freestyle relay at a recent varsity meet.
WCA is successfully building for the future as well. The team currently has seven swimmers in 7th grade and below and are therefore classified as JV swimmers. The most notable addition to the group is USA Swimming Age Group top ten finisher Joe Dill, who swims year-round with 757swim, the same club that Sullivan, Gibbons, and Flanagan have trained with, as well as Thibeault on a limited basis. Dill has already broken the team’s varsity 50 Freestyle record swimming at the JV level and has also broken the team’s JV 50 breaststroke record. In addition to Dill, long-time summer swimmer Coen Anthony has shown flashes of promise. Much improved this year as well has been 8th grader Cillian Clapp, who should score in the season-ending JV meet in the freestyle events. Connor Sullivan, another breaststroke specialist with 8th grader Jack Marlowe, will help in medley relays in particular. The team has also welcomed newcomers Zach Krebs, Ashton Graham, Faith Davenport, Daisy Marlowe, and Marley Newton to the JV team, as the team has swelled in grades 8 and below.
“We are really excited for this season of Eagle swimming. The team has grown to 20 swimmers between JV and Varsity!” stated Head Coach Anderson regarding the growth of her team. “Despite the early practice time (6:15 AM!), we have had great practice attendance, made dramatic improvement and have had a lot of fun in the water. Between 2 Varsity and 1 JV meet so far, we have already set several new team records. It is encouraging to see the swimmers’ enthusiasm and dedication to this WCA team. The highlight for first semester will be the Seton Homecoming Invitational on Dec. 21. This will be the first time we will have the JV and Varsity all competing together and we are looking forward to some fast, fun swims at this meet. As we say on the pool deck “Fly like an Eagle, Swim like a Fish!”
The JV team will compete at the St Catherine’s JV Relay Meet on Thursday, December 12th, followed by the Seton Homecoming Meet on the 21st. Results for all meets this season can be found on the team website at https://private-christian-school.williamsburgchristian.org/athletics/sports-programs/swimming/.
The Eagle Swim team is happy to invite new swimmers to the team midseason. If you are interested in joining our growing program and are grade 5 or above, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.