COVID-19 was not about to stop the CDH Girls Swim and Dive Team from having a successful season… and memorable it was! While many wouldn’t mind a postponed season of six a.m. weights, two-hour practices six days a week, and meets every Thursday, the swimmers and divers would have been heartbroken to miss, not just the season, but also the bonds and friendships formed on this team.
The 2020 high school Girls Swim and Dive season was definitely a season like no other. Unsure of whether there would be fall sports, the team prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. Fortunately, the Minnesota State High School League allowed fall sports to begin August 17 with many safety parameters in place, such as social distancing, masks, no spectators, dual meets only, and no final state competition. Cretin-Derham Hall had a solid team of 40 swimmers and divers, which were led by a fun, new, spirited coaching staff ready to take on the challenges of the unique season. Head Coach Lisa Thomas was joined by assistant coaches David Reeder, Katie Reeder ‘89, Erin Goodson ‘14, Katie Connors, and Head Diving Coach Katie Magnuson ‘88.
The team was also led by two stellar senior captains, Carmella McGee and Allison Youtt.
Though the girls missed the traditional team bonding activities, such as festive pictures at an apple orchard, a trip to a fun and scary haunted house, or pasta dinners before each meet, they were still able to bond over donuts on the baseball field after Saturday practices, planned outdoor scavenger hunts, yoga lessons, and some online Zumba videos with favorite Youtube instructors, Dre and Christina.
And don’t forget the grind of weight training at the crack of dawn, the strenuous evening practices, and cheering on teammates through muffled masks at each meet!
The team was able to participate in 12 dual meets in addition to ending the season with a JV Conference meet on October 13th and a Varsity Sections Championship meet on October 23rd, where the team placed third overall. Some season highlights include the team receiving the Gold Academic Award for the team with the highest average GPA in the section, three swimmers making All-Conference (Isabel Macheel, Lillian Moore, and Leah Hausmann), the largest diving team yet with eight divers, and many personal bests amongst the team.
Even amidst the obstacles of guidelines and protocols, COVID-19 could not hinder the camaraderie and fun that made it such a successful year. When asked about the
season and what she would miss most, senior captain, Carmella McGee, said, “The thing I will miss most about the swim team is the family of girls that I spent more time with than my real family. That team was the most supportive group of people in my life and I will never forget the love they showed me.” Senior captain, Allison Youtt, also remarked, “My favorite part of the season was when we did stations at practice because we could take time to work on our technique and get to know each other. I also liked stretching before practice because, since we had so many freshmen, we were able to personally meet all of them and build a connection. It was really important to get to know everyone.” Although spectators were not allowed and parents couldn’t watch their seniors’ last meet, the girls realized all they needed was each other to get them through. Yes, it was definitely a season that began with many unknowns, but in the end, the CDH Girls Swim and Dive Team knew one thing was certain: they would get through the season together and have fun in the process!