By Tate Gasch
It was an important and monumental season for the Riverside Swimming and Diving team. The Pirates were represented by 6 athletes at States this year.
Riverside took sophomores Elodie Mitchell and Otto Schonwalder, seniors Ryan Weave and Ben Smith, freshman Vivian Brennan, and homeschooled sophomore Asa Gerend. This is the largest group of athletes the swim team has ever taken to states, which was held at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, NC.
The men’s medley relay finished fourteenth out of 24 teams. Mitchell, the only girl representing Riverside, finished eighteenth in the 200 freestyle and just barely missed finals. Smith swam the 500 freestyle and finished twenty-third, and Gerend finished twenty-third in the men’s 50 freestyle.
“[this year’s season] was different because of the mask mandates and the first few meets were just girls, but at Conference and Regionals and States [the boys and girls teams] were able to go together…It was still fun,” Mitchell said. “Hopefully, next year I make finals”.
The atmosphere at states was unlike other meets. There were a few surprises,, like Mitchell’s heat being held behind the blocks for 30 minutes before her race.
“I feel like that messed me up a little bit…so that was frustrating.” she said.
Ryan Weaver, the defending state champion in the men’s 50 freestyle, also had to drop out of his events at the last minute due to a knee injury.
“Everyone took it really hard, especially him…but inevitably it was the right thing to do,” said sophomore Otto Schonwalder.
Weaver led the team to states and it was a heavy blow to the team when they realized he would not get to compete during his last meet as a senior. As the anchor leg to the 400 men’s freestyle relay, Weaver was a vital member of the team.
The meet was especially bittersweet for co-captains Ariane Allard-Spink, Ryan Weaver, and Ben Smith, who will all be graduating this year.
Senior captain Jake Foley used many compliments to describe this year’s team.
“It was really fun ‘cause the other captains were some of my really good friends,” he said. “We just had a good time at all the meets.”
There is a great deal of promising underclassmen talent that will be in charge of ensuring this team shows linear growth in the coming years, but Riverside is in need of more non-year-round swimmers to increase their numbers, Foley explained.
“We have a lot of really good Juniors and underclassmen that can take over for the team,” Foley said. “I think we will be set.”