High school swim team goes undefeated

Senior Lauren Dubes swims a freestyle race in Saturday’s tri-meet at the Claire Donahue Aquatic Center in Lenoir City.

The Lenoir City High School swim team went undefeated for the second season running after getting 180 points to win a tri-meet Saturday with Concord Christian (133 points) and Roane County (46 points).

“Very awesome,” Breanna Halsey, swim team head coach, said. “Something we shoot for and it’s always a goal and it’s a very exciting moment and very proud of all these kids. They come out here and put in hard work every single day, so I think going undefeated is just a testament to what they do and how fast they’ve become throughout the whole season.”

The middle school team fell 15 points short to drop its first meet of the season, losing 139-124 to Concord Christian.

“I’m really proud of them,” Hannah Crisp, assistant coach and head middle school coach, said. “Our middle school team is kind of small, so the fact that they were within 10, 15 points of winning was very impressive. Concord has a huge middle school team, so the fact that they were able to at least hold their own and not be completely blown out of the water was really great. The kids have worked really hard and I’m still super impressed and super proud of them for having such an incredible season even though they lost that last meet.”

The meet capped off a challenging week for the swim team as weather concerns canceled half of the practices.

“I think the kids did great,” Crisp said. “We only had two days practice last week so the fact they were able to go out and get some best times and come away with the win was really impressive. And, of course, our seniors did a great job, even though it was very emotional for them. They’ve been great in leading the team and we’re going to miss them very much, so being able to honor them is really fantastic, especially in such a big way that we were.”

The meet was paused halfway through to take the time to celebrate seniors from all teams, with Morgan Crisp, Alex DeRose, Lauren Dubes, Will Dubes and Carly Wrobleski the five swimmers on the LCHS team.

Each was recognized as Hannah Crisp said a few words about them. They then participated in a special senior swim, racing across the pool on various inflatables.

“That’s one of our traditions. We do that every year,” DeRose said. “It was a lot of fun to be able to participate in that.”

Wrobleski said it was a great moment to share with other graduating teammates.

“It meant a lot, because I’ve been swimming for like 12 years, and I’ve been swimming with this team for about eight years,” Wrobleski said. “It just meant a lot to be like with my closest friends and we’re all just swimming across the pool and it was just really significant of how far we’ve all come and how happy it is to end it all on a good note.”

Going undefeated her senior year made the celebration all the sweeter.

“It honestly means a lot because last year we were undefeated and I wanted to carry that into my senior year because I know how hard we all work and getting undefeated would just mean that all the hard work has paid off,” Wrobleski said.

Celebrations were nearly dampened by an injury to junior Elijah King, who hurt his shoulder mid-race. Though he finished using only one arm, he was ruled out for the rest of the meet.

“The biggest way it affected us this weekend is that we had to pull some people for relays and make sure that we had all of the relays covered,” Hannah said. “And then we also sacrifice points when we have to pull a swimmer, especially a point-earner like Elijah. … And then it also affects the mentality a little bit, to see a teammate get hurt and to lose a teammate kind of affects them a little bit.”

But the injury pulled the team together.

“The kids all rallied around,” Hannah said. “And he stayed and toughed it out for the rest of the meet, cheering on his team, so it was really nice.”

Some of King’s teammates also wrote ‘For Elijah’ on their backs as a show of support.

“He was in a lot of pain, so some of us wrote ‘For Elijah’ on our backs and I dedicated one of my swims to him,” DeRose said. “It was really just a big, wholesome display of love for one of our teammates.”

King is now recuperating, but his recovery is going well and he is expected to return in time for the team’s next events.

Next up on the calendar is the Knox Area Interscholastic Swim League City Championships on Jan. 22, where swimmers will get their last chance to make a state cut. The state championship swim meet is Feb. 12 in Nashville.

With only two events left, Halsey said focus in practice will be a little bit different moving forward.

“The next two weeks are spent getting the kids ready for city and those that made state preparing them for state,” Halsey said. “So we change how we work out, we focus on more details of how they’re swimming and doing starts and turns and just get them ready for championships.”

After a strong season and with six swimmers already qualified for state, hopes are high for the city championships.

“I’m hoping that we’ll have some more state cuts met at city meet and then everybody’s able to keep getting some faster times and that we look good in the water doing it,” Halsey said.