Underdawgs on top: Swim team wins Metros


Photo courtesy of Casey Meretta.

The swim team competes in a relay race in which they won against WJ. On Feb. 12 the team upset Gonzaga to take home the Metro Championship.

By Rachel Mattison, Online Editor

As a triumphant celebration of victory, the WCHS boys swim and dive team flung themselves into the pool and let their excitement out in the form of splashes. After a very successful season, in which the team won the division championship and had a lot of fun, winning Metros (a swim and dive competition that hosts 22 of the metro area’s top schools – public and private) was a sweet way to cap it off.

All season long the boys swim and dive team have been a force to be reckoned with going 6-0 during the regular season. Having both strong swimmers and divers, the team has confidently secured victory after victory. Even though the team knew how much potential they had, they knew the key to success was making sure this opportunity was utilized to make a deep run. 

“This team has a really talented group of swimmers but even better is that it is an extremely hardworking group,” WCHS senior and team captain Casey Meretta said. “They’re all motivated to improve and have put in tons of pool time in order to maintain dominance throughout the season.”

Another motivating factor for the team this year is the excitement they have to be back, after a year without an in-person swim and dive season. Just like so many things in life, the team has seemed to not take having a season for granted and has been excited to work and compete.

“The lack of a real season last year emphasized the importance of living in the moment and embracing the challenges the season brings to us,” WCHS senior and captain Dan Wei said. “Everything felt more exciting this year; being back after a break definitely fed into the energy of the team and increased spirit.”

Another fueling factor to success at Metros for the team was the bonds that the athletes had with each other. The connections made and team spirit developed ensured the necessary hype to carry the team to victory. 

“Since the freshmen and sophomores did not have a real swim and dive experience yet, the captains and I really tried to bond the team and set the culture,” Wei said. “We did team lunches and dinners, made posters for swimmers, had Friday themes at school to show swim/dive pride and hosted social events. Through this we accomplished our goal of fostering a sense of belonging and it developed a tight community. This motivated everyone and helped us be the best.”

Captains Meretta and Wei not only fueled team spirit, they also showed their leadership through motivating swimmers and developing lineups for meets. Utilizing the right swimmers in the right places maximizes points which leads the team to an overall win. 

“As captain I’ve developed meet lineups but I also serve as a leader and a motivator,” Meretta said. “The job has become extremely easy as we’ve progressed through the season because each and every one of the boys on the team has shown strong leadership skills and a desire to win like no other.”

That desire to win is what kept the team working hard and believing at Metros even as underdogs. Before the meet the team was predicted to lose by 55 points to Gonzaga College High School who is currently the second fastest high school in the country.

At Metros both swim and dive are combined to crown an overall school winner. The dive meet took place on Wednesday, Feb. 9 before the swim meet on Friday and Saturday. At that meet WCHS juniors Charlie Berman and Christopher Winn placed 3 and 6 respectively and senior captain Ryan Quinn placed eighth. 

“We went to metros knowing we were the underdogs but after our divers performed better than they were expected, the meet became a lot closer,” Meretta said. “We emphasized the importance of everybody’s swims at the beginning of the meet and everyone did what was needed including several time drops and people stepping up.”

Time drops and big swims led to WCHS having more finalists than was anticipated and picking up points everywhere they could find them. Although WCHS did not get first place in any event, they got enough points from stacking the rest of the leaderboard to narrow in on the number needed to win. As a win looked to become achievable excitement only heightened. 

“It was amazing at metros to watch insanely fast swimmers compete,” Wei said. “As we saw that we were ahead of expected point pace the hype became palpable. There was a feeling in the air that as the meeting went on grew and just made everyone so energetic.”

The meet was extremely close between WCHS and Gonzaga. At the last Metros, Gonzaga won by 90 points, having this meet come down to the wire as it did is not common. The battle between the two schools was intense, with Gonzaga hoping to defend their previous championship title, but WCHS pulled for an underdog win to boost their season. The third place team was Walt Whitman who were 174 points behind Gonzaga. 

“To get the win came down to our relay,” Wei said. “Knowing that as long as they didn’t get disqualified we would be champions, our entire team huddled behind their lane screaming and cheering.”

The team did not disqualify in the relay and were victorious at metros by a margin of 2.5 points. When the final scores were announced WCHS celebrated accomplishing the unlikely. Private schools are normally swim and dive powerhouses, Georgetown Prep and Gonzaga collectively have 19 of the past 21 championships. WCHS has the other two. 

“Winning metros was really special,” Meretta said. “I’ve never been more excited and proud to be part of something in my life, and I think that it’s something every one of us will remember forever.”