header picture courtesy/MIKE RICE/Asheville Citizen-Times
The swim team’s list of achievements has continued growing as more seasons pass by.
Senior Mitchell Stanek arrives at the pool by 5:15 a.m four days out of the week to practice for the YMCA club swim team. Stanek is a part of the Roberson boy’s team as well, and has been swimming ever since his parents signed him up for lessons when he was 3. Along with practice in the mornings, he and other swimmers attend workouts after school that last from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it when you go to the big meets and all that hard work pays off,” Stanek said, “I enjoy working for a team, working towards something kind of bigger than yourself. It’s fun and it keeps you motivated.”
Although the swimmers have to commit to practice hours each day, Stanek believes it has helped the team gain the success it now has. The Roberson boys’ swim team has placed first in the conference meet for the past 15 years in a row, something that Stanek hopes the team will continue to do. Both teams have had success throughout their season; however, it’s not just sports the teams excel at, but academics as well.
During the 2015-2016 season, the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association recognized the Roberson girls’ swim team for having the highest grade point average (GPA) in the nation among high school swim teams. The girl’s team’s combined GPA came to 3.952, while the boys’ team also received recognition for being a Gold Scholar team.
With hours of practice a day, the swimmers have had to learn how to balance sports along with completing their homework and staying successful in school.
“Balancing them (swim and sports) is definitely very hard because swimming is this really taxing sport that you do every day. You have to stay really well-conditioned and school is also kind of like that; so it is challenging. But if you just get in the mindset where you balance everything out, then it’s okay,” said junior Avery Ryan, who has been swimming competitively for eight years.
This season, the girls’ team finished with a record of 14-0 and the boys 11-3. Both teams placed first in the county meet. Several conference records were set as well. Senior, Camille Long set a school record in the 500m freestyle, sophomore, Grace Reeder set one in the 100m backstroke, and senior, Anna Newnam posted a new-best time in the 100 freestyle. Newnam also earned the title of Conference MVP.
“I’ve improved a lot over the past couple of years, so it’s good to just kind of see how I’ve developed,” junior Reid Arwood said. He believes that the hard work does pay off and is now looking towards trying to swim in college.
Seniors Stanek and Harrison Loew have both committed to swim in college. Stanek will be swimming for Davidson College and Loew has decided to swim for Rollins College.
While college is the reason some swimmers continue the sport, Newman believes that other motivating factors exist as well.
“That moment when you win your race or get the time you were trying to get–you become really proud of all the time you’ve put in and how it’s paid off,” Newnam said.
The TC Roberson girls’ swim team placed seventh at the state meet and the Roberson boys’ team placed 18th.