The girls’ swim team won their first Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) championship in school history on May 6 and 7 at Redwood High School. The team, led by coach Brittney Boyd, competed against Redwood, Drake, Terra Linda, and Marin Catholic.
“It was so exciting, everyone was crying because they were so happy,” said sophomore swimmer Kyra Carney.
The MCAL Championship meet is structured so that both junior varsity and varsity swimmers compete against other schools for the top 16 spots. The Hawks placed third in the final round of relays, but finished with more points overall.
The victory was close, ending with Tam beating Redwood by a mere 6 points. “Up until they announced it, it really could have gone either way, so it was really stressful because it was really close, and every single point really counted,” junior finalist Zoe Wortzman said.
In recent years, Tam has placed close behind their league competitors, as Marin is a highly competitive county for swimming, according to Wortzman. This year, however, the team had stood undefeated throughout the season.
The scoring at the championship meet is announced openly, so each team knows whether they are in the consolation round or the final rounds as the competition progresses. As Tam glided into the final rounds, everyone knew that it was going to be close, and the nerves and stress level rose quickly.
“The last round was a 400 relay… we knew that it was going to be really close and it got pretty stressful, so we knew we just had to swim our hearts out,” freshman relay swimmer Sam Sternfels said.
As the last round came to a close, while many swimmers were still in the pool, the scores were announced. “[Scores were announced] from tenth place to first place, and then they went straight to the winner, and they said by six points, Tam won,” Sternfels said.
“We were all so excited after we won. We got our flag and it was so exciting to carry [it],” sophmore Kalia Firmage said. “Everyone jumped in the pool, even people in their clothes. Pretty much the whole team was there and everyone was super supportive.”
While surprising, this win was well-earned deserved according to the swimmers.
“We train really hard for [MCALs], we practiced hard all season building up to it,” Firmage said.
Many of the girls have been dedicated to swimming their whole lives. “I would say that most of the swimmers on the team are very committed… I take it very seriously and to succeed you have to be very committed and be at practice every day,” Firmage said.
However, a little extra motivation from coach Brittney Boyd was also key in the MCAL win. Boyd has been pushing the girls to do their best and show up to practice because they want to, rather than because they feel like they need to. “Britney’s really tough about…[Being committed to the team] if you don’t come to practice, you are on the bench during meets,” Carney said. “Our coach Britney is really great. She’s really dedicated and invested in every swimmer regardless of their speed,” Wortzman said.
Part of the reason the championship was such a surprise to the team was because many of the top competitors are young, which means that they still have a few good years ahead of them. “We are a young team, so I think we can only get better as we go,” Sternfels said. “We do lose a few good upperclassmen, but I have high hopes going into next season.”