Highlands swimming, diving puts together another solid season
|Contributed Photo. Highlands senior swimmer Beth Ann Griffith competes in a recent meet.|
The Highlands Swimming and Diving squads captured the Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference Division I combined team championship. The teams scored 539 points outdistancing runner-up Dixie Heights' 321 points by 218 points. The meet consisted of 24 total events.
"I think everyone was really positive and I think we all really support each other," said Beth Ann Griffith, Highlands senior swimmer. "Some people had off events, but we all cheered each other on. That really helped the team win."
The Bluebirds finished second as a team with 285 points behind Covington Catholic's 358 points. On the girls' side, Notre Dame scored 449 and the Ladybirds finished runner-up with 254.
A pair of freshmen captured individual championships in the meet. Finn Murphy won the Boys Diving championship and Caroline Sand won the Girls 100-Meter Freestyle swim. Individuals can participate in either two individual and two relay events or one individual and three relay events.
"I train six days a week and two of those days, I train before and after school," Sand said. "I have been working hard all year and on Saturday, I just got on the block and swam what I have been training for and it paid off."
The team has a total of 54 swimmers and divers. The four senior Ladybirds are Griffith, Lily Banks, Anna Foose and Abby Weyer. The two Bluebird seniors are Greyson Pendery and Jake Horston. Griffith and Weyer are also members of the Highlands Dance Team.
"They've provided great leadership for our younger swimmers," said Amanda Johnson, Highlands Head Coach. "They came and supported the younger kids at the freshman regionals that we won. They encourage them throughout the season at all the meets. They also lead by example. They have great sportsmanship."
Little things make a difference in meets. Swimmers used to fire off the block and stay underwater all the way to the end of the pool. But Johnson said swimmers have to come before 15 meters into the race.
"Having good techniques is really important in swimming as it is in diving," Johnson said. "We always say, 'Swim Smart' and train how you're going to swim in the race."
Highlands competes in the Region 7 meet on Feb. 10 and 11 at Silverlake Recreation Center in Erlanger. Highlands has won the combined team title the last five years. Aside from CovCath and Notre Dame, Johnson said Dixie Heights and Ryle have nice teams.
"We have a lot of guys that have been working hard all year long," Pendery said. "We will keep inching closer and closer each year. We've gotten close to our state times last year. CovCath has a lot more numbers and a lot more depth in the Top 16."
The state meet runs Feb. 23 through 25 at the University of Louisville. St. Xavier has captured 28 straight championships on the boys side and Sacred Heart has won the last four on the girls' side.