The Lake Central Girls Swimming and Diving team finished out their regular season at Sectionals on Saturday, Feb. 6. The girls have had to adapt to participating in the sport while also dealing with the setbacks of COVID-19.
“This year was a lot more complicated than years past. COVID impacted our season in a couple [of] ways, but I think the biggest impact was a feeling of separation. We were separated from our parents and each other for most of the season. This led to us not getting the same kind of atmosphere at Conference and Sectionals this year. Without any of our parents and loved ones, we relied on each other, and we had to be stronger together,” Paige Baker (12) said.
The entire team was quarantined for two weeks in December, and the girls did not let that hold them back. Madison Mercer, a senior diver on the team, said she did not think COVID-19 had an effect on the outcome of their season.
“Our team was quarantined once during the season for two weeks, but instead of coming back and panicking about feeling behind other teams, everyone came back refreshed from the break and ready to work as hard as they could to catch back up. I think the team did as well as we possibly could have and the outcome of our season would have been very similar if we had a ‘regular’ season,” Mercer said.
Although the entire team was quarantined for two weeks, Mercer was quarantined for three weeks and missed two meets that she was “very excited to compete at.” This did not hold her back, and after she came back, she went on to put out her best at every meet due to a realization she had.
“I realized I couldn’t take anything for granted this year and had to go out and compete at every meet as though it may be my last one, which each one easily could have been, with the uncertainty of if we’d be able to make it through the season without being shut down or if I would be quarantined again,” Mercer said.
Mercer also explained that athletes on the team had to step up and hold each other accountable when coaches were quarantined. The younger members of the team had to step up and fill a Varsity position when those athletes were quarantined.
The athletes on the team have a strong passion for the sport. Many of the members have long lists of reasons as to why they participate, and they did not allow anything to get in the way of having a season this year.
“Swimming is my lifeline. I love the sport and have revolved most of my life around it. I swim year-round and have goals set for my future. The excitement and adrenaline rush when I compete at big meets and break records is what keeps me going,” Baker said.
After anticipating this meet all season, the team competed in Sectionals and tied for second place with Munster High School. Many of the athletes won first place in their events and qualified for the state competition, and Madison Mercer and Shelby Noonan qualified for Regionals in diving.
“I felt very confident in all my dives and that confidence helped lead me to win first place. I was so excited to have accomplished my goal since freshman year of becoming a sectional champion. After Sectionals, I was very proud of my team and all that we were able to accomplish this year. I was very nervous that this season would not live up to my expectations of what my senior year would be like due to COVID but I am very happy with how it turned out,” Mercer said.