Following their 20th consecutive ECC win, the ELHS girls swim team continues to break records and push the boundaries of their athletic potential.
“You just don’t get in there and swim. You have a plan,” said Coach Jack Stabach.
Prior to races, turns, starts, and finishes must be perfected. Though the coaches run a competitive program, the focus is always on the progress of the swimmers.
“We’re building an opportunity for success and also coaching from the same goals: the object is not necessarily to win, the object is to have success in whatever way that is,” said assistant coach Cecilia Emblidge.
This coaching approach has produced a legacy of swimmers exceeding all expectations.
“This team this year has a lot of talent. We have great expectations for this year. Nikki Hahn and Grace Vlaun are our two leaders, both seated first in both of their events. The relays we expect to win, they’re very close to setting ECC records,” predicted Coach Stabach.
His predictions came true. Sophomore Nikki Hahn, already holding school and pool records, was awarded “Swimmer of the Meet,” and broke the 100 breaststroke ECC record. A 200 medley relay with Hahn, Hiruni Jawawickreme, Katie Keating and Grace Vlaun also set an ECC record.
Senior Captain and team leader Katie Keating also broke the school record for butterfly at ECC’s.
“Having the opportunity to break the relay records as well as the fly is super exciting and rewarding because of all the hard work we’ve put in. It’s super fun to see great results come out of our hard work,” Keating said. “I enjoy helping our team be the best it can be.”
This success didn’t come easily. Both coaches and swimmers acknowledge the effort required.
“It’s grueling. It’s a lot of time with your head underwater,” said coach Cecilia. “The commitment level to be swimming back and forth, back and forth, takes a very special person.”
Swimmers put in this effort with the support of the team.
“Swimmers find their inspiration and drive from their teammates. We work really hard during practice. It’s that motivation and support that gets us through,” said senior captain Hiruni Jayawickreme. In addition to being a source of motivation, the team is also a family.
“Our swim team is just awesome. I’ve never been on a team that’s as close and as friendly to each other. We’re really just like sisters,” said Hahn.
The girls swim team has become an unspoken source of pride for East Lyme, but at the pool, the team means everything.