Boys varsity swim team gets second in league


The boys varsity swim team celebrates their league finish with their team pet fish. Photo courtesy of Ibraheem Kaakarli.

Elizabeth Bulat, Editor-in-Chief

On Feb. 23, the boys varsity swim team came in second place in their OAA league meet. This accomplishment shows the progress the team has made throughout recent years. Senior captain Ibraheem Kaakarli explained how the team has been focusing on the league meet throughout the season and had set personal and team goals to be successful there.

“Each year is totally different so comparison’s are really a mute point.  All we try for is personal improvements and swim your best in the league meet,” boys varsity swim coach Paul Karas said. “This season, 75 percent of the times swam at the League meet were PB’s (personal best) which is outstanding.”

Second place is the highest finish that the varsity boy’s swim team has come in for their OAA league meet since before the current seniors were freshmen. This makes for a unique experience for the athletes and boosts the program’s confidence for future years.

“The second place finish is really well considering the fact that we haven’t been placing well in the past few years since I have been a freshman,” Kaakarli said. “This is the closest we have ever been to winning our league.”

Kaakarli explained how he felt a change to the team’s training philosophy was crucial to their success.

“This year we did something really different, which is instead of doing morning practices, we did morning liftings,” Kaakarli said. “I felt like that was really efficient considering that we were gaining muscle instead of being in the pool two times a day.”

Senior captain Moises Perez Sanchez attributed much of the team’s accomplishments to the team atmosphere. Kaakarli explained that the boys also put their money together and bought a team fish which, “boosted the team morale.” Balancing fun with hard work was an important aspect of the boy’s season.

“I think the team atmosphere was fun it was a very strong sense of camaraderie and I guess that put us closer together and allowed us to succeed,” Perez Sanchez said. “Exhibit A, our relay, boom, made it to states, flex.”

Out of the medley relay that qualified for states, only one member, Isaac Steenston, was a senior. This is promising for the team’s future, and Coach Karas hopes that the young members of the team will be motivated to continue to find success.

“Making States in a Medley relay was super and all the relay members swam PB’s.  Our relay team dropped 3 seconds to make the State cut. Not to be outdone the next Thursday at Diving regions 2 divers made States too,” Coach Karas said. “Hopefully the underclassmen going to States will see how fast people are swimming and train hard over the summer to get back next year.”

Kaakarli explained that the team’s goals this year revolved around the league meet and getting members of the team to the state meet. The 200 yard medley relay, composed of freshman Jack VanHowe, senior Isaac Steenson, sophomore Spencer English and sophomore John Flater, came in 30th place at the MHSAA D1 State Finals. Meanwhile, for the 1 meter diving event, senior diver Shawn Suttie placed 9th and sophomore Devin Losh placed 21st.

“From day one we were talking about this meet we kept saying that this is our championship meet and this is the only thing that matters,” Kaakarli said.  “At the same time we also had a lot of fun together as a team during the season.”