On Saturday December 15th, the Cambridge Bears Varsity swim team took to the pool against two significant regional rivals, the Raiders and Cougars. While both the Raiders and the Cougars fielded 60 swimmers each against the 26-swimmer squad of the Bears, there was significant spirit and excitement to be felt on the pool deck.
The first race of the meet was met with much anticipation. The boys and girls of the Cambridge squad were hunting down state cut championship times, with the talent and energy to back it up. The boys' 200-yard A-Medley Relay team (Erek Humm, Shaban Halim, Hawk Hammer, and Bryce Jewell) put forward a good fight with a season best time of 1:59.40, but was just short of a state cut time. The girls' A-Medley Relay team (Lauren Holliday, Maggie McGinty, Angela Ho, and Alex Newcomer) sprang forward with an overall second place finish and a state cut time of 2:06.96. The performance shaved off an incredible five seconds from their previous performance. The girls' B-Medley Relay team (Emily Dwane, Sydney Swenton, Sophia LaMarca, Ashley Dale Henslee) came in just behind their teammates in fourth place overall with a time of 2:19.51.
The good times continued to roll for the Bears. Hawk Hammer (senior) brought in some vital points with a third place finish in the 50-yard freestyle (23.9 seconds), narrowly missing a state cut time by .40 seconds. The girls followed Hammer's performance, also bringing in a third place finish with Susannah Jordshaugen, coming in with a time of 28.31.
The boys' 200-yard freestyle A-relay team (Hammer, Humm, Halim, Jewell) narrowly missed the state cut time with a sixth place finish and a time of 1:45.19, an impressive five seconds faster than their previous performance two weeks ago. The girls also narrowly missed the cut with a fourth place finish (Sydney Swenton, Angela Ho, Tori Bentley, Susannah Jordshaugen) and a time of 1:58.42, over two seconds of improvement over their last performance.
The breaststroke event, which the Cambridge team is starting to develop a reputation for, was as impressive as always. Maggie McGinty, who swam a state cut time in the last meet, met with another impressive state cut time of 1:14.04. Sydney Swenton backed her up with a third place finish of 1:23.68.
With steep competition, the boys' 400-yard freestyle A-relay team (Jake Todd, Noah Sannes, Erek Humm, Bryce Jewell) shaved two seconds off the team's personal best, finishing in seventh with a time of 4:08.13. The girls' A-relay team (Holliday, McGinty, Henslee, Newcomer) took fourth with a time of 4:26.19 followed by the B-relay team (Swenton, Bentley, Amanda Seibert, Jordshaugen) taking seventh and the C-relay team (Lauren Pocza, Sarah Moore, Ayana Dudley, Sydney Anderson) taking eighth.
Some of the Bears came in with personal bests, including Jake Todd in the 500-yard freestyle. Taking fourth place overall, Todd came in with a notable time of 5:34.99. Alex Newcomer also swam a personal best in the 100-yard freestyle, placing sixth overall with a time of 1:03.89. In the same race, Susannah Jordshaugen swam a time of 1:02.9. Another incredible performance on her docket. Ashley Dale Henslee shaved a second off of her 200-yard freestyle finish and both Maggie McGinty and Sydney Swenton shaved five seconds off of their 200-yard individual medley times. David Le and Jeremy Sokol shaved a second each in their 50-yard freestyle, and Sarah Moore shaved off fractions of a second off the same race (a very difficult race to shave time from due to its short distance). Hawk Hammer was able to shave time off his 100-yard butterfly with a personal best of 1:09.19 and Erek Humm backed him up with a personal best of 1:09.95 (over a whole second of improvement). David Le took an incredible five seconds off his 100-yard freestyle race. Kevin Knapp shaved off over a second on his 100-yard backstroke (1:12.27) and Jake Todd narrowly missed a state cut in the same race with a time of 1:04.99.
Some swimmers had to step outside their comfort zone to compete in unfamiliar events to support their teammates. Shaban Halim took on the dreaded 200-yard individual medley, Sydney Anderson swam the 200-yard freestyle, and Lauren Holliday and Alex Newcomer had to persevere through the 500-yard freestyle for the second time.
While many swimmers felt that they had not performed their personal best, they made Cambridge very proud with their perseverance in the face of difficult competition. With a tough meet in the midst of the most difficult part of the training season, the Bears have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming weeks as the Bears build up to North Fulton County Championships and North Georgia Regions. Coach Hall anticipates many more state cut performances in the upcoming meets as she comments, "We have a tremendous amount of talent. But more than talent, we have a tremendous amount of support, energy, and dedication that makes this team different. It makes them special."
Be sure to read about Maggie McGinty as the Cambridge High School's Athlete of the Week.