Dedication Pays Off for the Phoenix Swim Teams

Team bonding and sharp senior leadership have yielded improved results for the Phoenix swim teams. “The season started with nobody knowing anyone, but now everyone has gotten to know each other and we all enjoy going to team dinners,” freshman Kriti Narsin said.


Adi Kidiyoor

Senior Morgan Fowle celebrates after winning his 50 yard freestyle heat at the county championships on Jan. 14. Most of Fowle’s preparation prior to races is mental. “I try to visualize my races step by step and frame by frame to help me get a better feel for how the race is going to unfold,” Fowle said.

After a two-and-a-half month long regular season filled with growth and long hours, many of the Phoenix swimmers are looking to earn individual accolades at the Regional and State competitions. However, it wasn’t a smooth road to get here. “A lot of the kids couldn’t even swim two laps, but captains and coaches really helped them gain their strokes,” senior captain Jeet Metu said. 

A large portion of the Rock Ridge swim team was inexperienced in swimming at the start of the season. However, many found a new passion. “They really were kind of  hesitant and nervous coming into this,” senior captain Morgan Fowle said. Having a relatively young team, the group has put a large focus on getting the athletes more time in the water and used to the sport.

Freshman Kriti Narsin celebrates after winning her heat in the 50 meter freestyle. Narsin has seen significant improvements in her times. “My long distance swimming has improved by at least a minute and my short distance swims have decreased by 3 or 4 seconds,” Narsin said. (Adi Kidiyoor)

As the season progressed, in order to prepare for the crucial end-of-season competitions, the intensity of the team’s practice increased, placing a larger focus on conditioning and overall fitness. “In the weeks leading up to the [LCPS championships] as a team, we slowly dialed up the intensity of our workouts,” Fowle said.  

As the LCPS Championships mark the close of the regular season, it will also soon be time for the seniors to retire from their high school swimming careers. “My favorite memories are the bus rides back from meets,” Metu said. The atmosphere on the bus rides is usually relaxed. “We listen to music after we win a meet,” Metu said. 

For some of the seniors, however, being part of the Phoenix swim team won’t end after the season is concluded. “I could definitely see myself potentially volunteering and maybe even returning back to my roots here and donating my time to the Rock Ridge swim team,” Fowle said. “I enjoy coaching and helping people get better and use tips to help other people.”

The swim teams have found a new crop of leaders once the seniors graduate. Sophomore Neel Chetan has taken on a leadership role this season. Chetan was offered the official title of captain, but declined because he wanted another year of experience. From making sure his teammates are in the right place at the right time at meets, to offering a friendly face at practice, Chetan is looked up to on the team even without the title. “I’m really friendly, I’m in the mix with everybody, a lot of people go to me before the captains,” Chetan said. 

The hard work of the season has paid off for the team. At districts on Feb. 4, Fowle placed first in the 100 yard freestyle and second in the 50 yard freestyle. Sophomore Andrew Takach placed second in the 100 yard breaststroke and third in the 200 yard IM. The boys relay consisting of Fowle, Takach, Chetan and sophomore Nikhil Midda finished third in the 200 yard medley and third in the 400 yard freestyle relay.

Sophomore Neel Chetan competes in Heat 5 of the Men’s 200 yard freestyle. With a time of 1:52:86, Chetan achieved second place in the event. “[We] have definitely been working hard and a lot of us have progressed well in our events,” Chetan said. (Anik Mridha)