Freedom High School junior Austen Bundy, a Viva Loudoun high school intern, has kept a blog this swim season and we share it with you on the eve of the Conference 14 swim meet tonight at Claude Moore at 6 p.m. Good luck to all six schools at the first ever conference meet: Briar Woods, Broad Run, Freedom, Potomac Falls, Stone Bridge and Tuscarora.
What is on the line tonight: A trip to the 5A North swim meet … top four individuals in each event and top 4 relay teams will advance along with those that have already posted state qualifying times.
The Bundy Blog: Inside Freedom’s Swim Season
By Austen Bundy
Dec. 8, 2013 – Starting Off Right
After the first week of competition for swim teams across the county, everyone wants the perfect season. For some, they are on the right track, for others not so much. At this point the Freedom girls squad is on point to defend their district title from last year (swimming in the new Potomac District), but the boys are back to a losing record like last season with a loss against Potomac Falls on Dec. 7.
Now, this isn’t the end of the world but it isn’t where a team wants to be starting off. Loss of confidence can be an issue when losing the initial meet but in order to keep a team together, captains and coaches have to motivate the team at practice to come back and write their own destiny. This holds true for the first half of the season, where building strength and team moral are crucial for later in the season.
Teams shouldn’t be discouraged or think that their season is in shambles because of one loss because what does that lead to? More losses. The more you think you will lose, the more possible it becomes.
Now don’t get me wrong, perfect practice does make perfect, but perfect mindset makes everything possible.
Dec. 15, 2013 – Building Upon the Little Things
Despite both loses by the Freedom boys and girls teams to Broad Run on Dec. 14 the scores were a lot closer than anyone anticipated. Boys lost by only 78 points and girls by 22 points. After a blow out by Potomac Falls the week earlier, the boys should feel proud to have put up a fight against a strong Broad Run team. The girls should keep their heads up because the conference can still be won in the coming weeks.
It’s the little things a team has to look at when evaluating a win or loss. Times dropping, spirits rising and points being scored. After all three come together perfectly, only then can a team win. Other teams around the conference are experiencing the same thing.
Losing two weeks in a row isn’t a great thing but weird things happen in sports. A conference title might be a reach but getting hot going into the postseason might bid well at conference finals.
Practices have to be focused on technique and getting minds set for the next meet. Don’t go into the meet thinking that the season doesn’t mean anything anymore, go in knowing you’re going to do your best to drop time, be spirited and score points for the team.
You never know, maybe something crazy will happen, maybe you just might win.
Dec. 22, 2013 – Underdogs Get Hot Late
Week three of the High School Swim Season means that winning gets important in order to have a chance at claiming the conference. But getting closer to the postseason, who is going to step up and show what they’ve got?
The Freedom girls team won their matchup against Briar Woods on Dec. 21 and the boys lost once again, but by the tightest margin all season, 48 points. Perhaps a win is in their sights?
With week four of a six week season approaching, the underdog FHS boys look to possibly win out and be a contender in the postseason.
Impossible you say? Not at all.
Any underdog who has come back to make a postseason statement has gotten hot late in the season and for good reason.
In order for a team to be competitive this late into a season they need to, first off: win, and secondly: pull together as a team.
The postseason is all about keeping the win streak going or in the swimming world keep dropping time and make the cuts. There are two ways to continue competing in the postseason: either get state cut or finish top four at conference finals.
Coaches and captains should be motivating their teams to want to win and want to do well in the postseason. Team spirit should be at its highest level going forward and all a swimmer should be thinking about is doing well for the team and doing well for themselves.
Anything is possible in the world of sports, especially in crunch time, considering we’re getting close to our own “two-minute warning.”
Jan. 5, 2014 – Getting the First Win
Here we are more than halfway through the season, the battle for the conference title gets heated, and then there are the teams who have finally won a meet. That’s the case for the Freedom boys swim team.
Despite losing four graduated seniors, the FHS boys squad pulled out a 161-124 win over Tuscarora on Jan. 4, their first one this season. With the postseason approaching, a win will help any team get pumped for what comes next.
For most it’s “Win or Go Home” time. You’ve got to beat the best in order to be the best.
Now, swimming doesn’t have a playoff system for teams but a similar structure for individuals. In these final two weeks of regular season meets, swimmers will be trying to get their best times, whether it’s to impress the coaches in order to make the conference team or make a state cut, almost like clinching a playoff berth in football.
I like to think of conference finals as the divisional round (there can’t really be any wildcards because every team makes it in) and from that point forward it really is “Win or Go Home.” Unless, for those swimmers who already made a state cut, you get a bye week. Even though they have to swim at conference finals and regions, they already qualify for the next round with their best time.
Getting that first win is the foundation for teams to step up and make something out of the rest of the season. Even if conference title hopes are dashed, individuals can still make their team name mean something and prove themselves in the final weeks.
As much as the post season is still two weeks away, these next two weeks will be critical for teams like FHS to build upon their success and motivate their swimmers to keep “winning” throughout the post season.