Who Says Kitties Can’t Swim?
Radford Bobcats making great strides to commence their swim season
The Radford High School Swim Team is back again, this year making a splash. Their first meet was held at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center on Friday, December 3rd. With more than 800 competitors, the CAC was completely packed with cars in every parking spot.
Head coach of the RHS Swim Team and 4th grade teacher at Belle Heth Elementary, Heather Rowland, claims that this was her most successful first meet ever, with three returning state champions out of the five that dominated the state meet last year. Coach Rowland also claims that this meet was extremely experimental and served the purpose of finding each swimmer’s skill and comfort level during each event. Rowland, having coached swimmers for over a decade, says that this is one of the biggest teams she has ever coached. For many freshman members of the team, it is their first time being on an official swim team. Senior leader and 3rd time team member of the RHS swim team, Elliot Van Noy, says that she helped and worked with a lot of the younger competitors during the meet to help them calm their nerves and swim with a clear head. Many of these younger swimmers are showing potential to be competitive members of the team.
Assistant coaches of the RHS Swim Team include Becky Dangerfield, Gifted Coordinator for the city of Radford, and Shannon Wohlford, 9th grade Earth Science and Physics teacher. Wohlford is excited about the team’s fast start this season. “We have incorporated a new weight lifting program to supplement our in-pool swim practices and feel that this has helped our swimmers to be way ahead of how we started last year! Many of our veteran swimmers started out in our first meet with times just as fast as they finished at the end of last year. This is relatively unheard of…It gives us a great starting point for getting even faster, this year, by the time conference, region and state championships roll around,” Wohlford says proudly.
When Connor Herndon, senior, was asked how she feels about being a senior this year, she said, “It’s really bittersweet for me. Swimming is my favorite sport and it has the best team bond; I’ll miss it a lot. Swimming has taught me good life lessons, like not to be late, always come prepared, and to keep a positive attitude. When I’m on the block, I tell myself to stay calm because I know if I’m less tense, I can swim a better race,” explains Herndon.
It’s safe to say that with all of the supportive coaches, dedicated teammates, and long practices, the RHS swim team will definitely be successful this year.