They’re all jumping in head first
FARMER’S KORNER – In life, there are swimmers and there are divers, and both are ready to jump into the season head first with the Summit High School Girls swimming and diving team.
The Summit team kicks off its season Friday with its first meet against Golden – one of the toughest teams in Summit’s new 4A Conference, according to head swim coach Graig Fischer.
“I know of three teams that are stronger than us right now – Golden, D’Evelyn and Evergreen,” Fischer said. “Golden was the top team in the league last year in 5A. The idea that we’ll be going up against larger programs or larger schools this season, the majority of people would look at it as a disadvantage. We look at it as an advantage and an opportunity to step up and do that much better. If you look at our program the last three years, coming into this year, that’s what’s happened. If we could do it, I’d put the best teams in the state on our schedule. We’re not at that point yet, but this will help us get to that point. We’ve been working harder at this point than we ever have.”
The swim team lost a few of its members this season, including star swimmer Erin Van Gundy, the sole state competitor from the Summit team who graduated last year.
There are, however, several return swimmers capable of qualifying for state this season, and Fischer has a lot of faith in his team, which includes seven seniors, six juniors, eight sophomores and two freshmen.
“To my knowledge, this is the biggest team Summit has ever had,” Fischer pointed out. “We’re going to be one of the largest teams in the conference, but we’re one of the smallest schools. For us to be able to succeed in this conference, our kids are going to need to step it up a little bit. We’ve had lots of opportunities for state with this team, it depends on how hard we’re willing to work.”
The airborne side of the team feels the same way. There are nine divers on the Summit team this year, one junior, three sophomores and five freshmen. The diving team is led by new head coach Julie Sutor, who points out that, at this point in practice, the team’s main goal is plucking up enough nerve to be comfortable in the air.
“(Diving) is a great way to develop character,” Sutor said at practice earlier this week. “It requires a lot of courage, discipline and trust. I think it will really instill some good character with kids who stick with it.”
Fischer is pleased with Sutor’s coaching of the team, and emphasizes that diving and swimming are two very different worlds.
“You have to have a certain edge to you to do those things off a diving board,” he said. “The water’s not really hard except for when you land the wrong way. It takes a certain mentality to want to be a diver.”
Practice for the Summit divers has certainly meant a few instances of “carnage” and wrong landings, according to Sutor. Although she says it’s too early to judge how the diving team will do this weekend competing in its new conference, she feels confident in the progress made thus far.
“I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “The first competition will kindle a competitive spirit in the divers and really motivate them to give it their all in practice. Not that they don’t right now – they’re definitely working hard. But, I think (competing) gives you the extra oomph to really see what you can do, and helps you get that objective in mind.”
Sutor said there is a vast range of ability on the team, and as far as goals go at the very least, she expects the diving team leader – junior Tasha Rosener – to make it to state this season.
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