Friendly and focused: Girls swimming adds diving team members

Addition of diving team allows for more competitive scoring


Isabella Kellermeier

Senior Ava McKula dives into the pool during the senior night match Nov. 5

Olivia Griffin, Assistant Editor

The girls swimming and diving team members are silent in the pool at Ratner Athletics Center while they complete their coaches’ drills at practice. As the girls swim, their arms and legs break the surface of the water, their heads move in sync with their bodies, and their feet kick visibly and quickly in the bubbles.

Focused and driven, the girls swim quickly through the pool, while enduring the humidity and overwhelming smell of chlorine in the Ratner pool.

The diving team has five new members. This addition is already improving the team’s overall scores. Efforts to integrate the new divers began during pre-season and have continued throughout the rest of the season.   

“We would switch up lane assignments during practices so that we would get to swim with the people we hadn’t before,” junior Lea Rebollo Baum said.

Without a diving team, the scores that the swimmers received at past meets were not accurate comparisons to other teams. Now, the added points from the diving team help determine the outcome of swim meets and give the team a better sense of how they will place in the postseason.

Preparing for meets and sectionals means swimming every day during the school week and sharing the pool with University of Chicago swimmers. The U-High lanes take up half the pool, each lane filled with at least three sets of identical goggles, caps and swimsuits. Their uniformity in the pool extends even further into to their team dynamic.

“Some of the divers used to be on the swim team, and some of the swimmers used to be on the diving team. Since there is this overlap, that allows for a lot of connections between the two groups and we mesh pretty well because of it,” senior Ava McKula said.

While noise from the occasional bounces off the diving board from University of Chicago students sometimes distracts the U-High girls, the swimmers focus on improving their skills in the pool and making sure that everyone on the team feels welcomed.   

“I was nervous about joining at first,” ninth-grader Maya Herron said. “But they all immediately took me under their wing and made me feel super welcome.”

Lea credited the diving team as an important asset to the overall swimming and diving program, particularly when it comes to overall team rankings. Divers are judged on a scale from one to ten. That score is then multiplied depending on the difficulty of their dive for their final ranking.

At the meet against Victor J. Andrew School on Oct. 16, all the divers’ scores, 118 being the highest, contributed to U-Highs win.

“I think it’s definitely a challenge to keep a whole team dynamic as we don’t always practice together,” Lea said,“but it definitely helps to spend time with them at pasta parties and at meets, when we all cheer for each other no matter the swimmer or diver!”