Broughton swimming and diving closes out a successful season

   Broughton’s swimming and diving team has just finished a remarkable season, in spite of the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of safety restrictions, the number of swimmers at meets this year was cut from 60 to just 20, and it was also more difficult to advance to the championships. In a normal year, the top 24 times would advance from the conference championships to Regionals, with the top eight from Regionals moving on to States. This year those numbers were reduced to just 12 for Regionals and only three for States.   

   The diving team was hit the hardest by the COVID-19 restrictions, as Wake County regulations prevented schools from holding any diving practices. Instead, divers had to practice with a club outside of school or on their own.

   The team rose above these limitations at the CAP-7 conference meet, where the men’s team took second place and the women’s team placed third. Senior Martin Kinney excelled and became the CAP-7 men’s diving champion for the second year in a row. This performance allowed the team to move on to the 4A East Regional championship, where they placed third on the women’s side and fourth for the men. 

   At the state championships on Saturday, February 13, nine Broughton athletes competed and had a fantastic day of racing. The women’s team gave an outstanding performance and took second place overall. Senior Olivia Gschwind and sophomores Taylor Morris, Elena Dry, and Lily Welsh worked together to win first in the state for the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays, breaking the Broughton record and receiving All-American times for both events. Morris and Welsh also received All-American times in the 100-yard backstroke, while Gschwind set a new school record for the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle and was awarded the Sportsmanship Award. 

   Sophomore John Reese Taylor also had a strong race, taking first in the 100-yard breaststroke and setting a new Broughton record for the event. Other school records were broken by Elena Dry in the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard butterfly, and by Willi Dunlap, Eli Fuller, John Reese Taylor, and Wells Walker in the 200-yard and 400-yard relay.

   This season was certainly different from any other, and both swimmers and coaches alike felt the loss of traditions like team dinners. 

   “I really focus on building a good team environment, and not being able to have team dinners before swim meets, or have a practice or meet with everyone attending, definitely felt different,” said head coach Gaby Shelow. 

   In spite of this, the team found new ways to stay connected and have fun with events like themed meets and Kahoots about swimming and diving trivia. 

   Looking forward to the next season, Coach Shelow says that the team has learned a lot from this unique year. 

   “First and foremost, I think we’ve all come to appreciate how much time we usually get to spend together as a team,” she said. She added that she hopes to keep some of the new traditions established this year, like the themed swim meets, saying, “It’s just a fun way to show up as a team and have some fun together.”