After six months of dual meets, the swim team’s season ended last weekend at the Northwest Conference Championships with the women’s team placing fifth and the men’s team placing seventh.

The team returned home with several broken records, all-conference swimmers and event winners.

Senior Katie Porter won two northwest Conference titles, the 50-yard free style for the fourth year in a row and the 100-yard freestyle. Porter also snagged a national qualifying time in the 50-yard freestyle.

Porter wasn’t the only one to place well. Senior Amanda Clark won her third 1650-yard conference title and freshman Raymond Miller broke a 10-year school record this weekend in the 200 yard freestyle and placed third.

In order to prepare for conference, the team underwent months of rigorous training with days that started well before the sunrise. They practiced between 7- 9 a.m. and then another practice may follow later on in the day.

Head coach Alec Webster said In their practices, they aren’t just working on speed, but strength as well.

“Everyone is working to become stronger and that in turn makes your stroke better,” said senior Melissa Lund.

In addition to pool workouts, the team lifted weights and did cardio twice a week.

Right before conference the swimmers tapered to prepare to perform at their best at conference. Tapering entails reducing the length of practices and increasing intensity to refine skills and increase muscle capacity.

This practice not only allows their bodies to heal and recoup but, according to Lund, it also “works like magic.”

Lund said all of the swimmers look forward to tapering, not only for the lighter load, but also because it gives them time to focus and mentally prepare for the upcoming race.

“It’s more physiological and mental,” said Webster.

Through all of the time as the team spends together, the swimmers have become a very tight-knit group who support and cheer each other on at events.

“We respect each other and we all get along really well,” said Lund. “It’s nice to go to practice with a second family.”

To keep up their bond, if they have time after practice, the team has a ritual of going to hang out in the hot tub to chat and relax together.

As close as they are, this was the last conference that the senior swimmers participated in, and while they finished strong, they will be missed.

“The good news is that they are all graduating, they stuck with it for four years,” said Webster. “I think it is a testament to them and to the program.”

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