February Comes with Firsts–and Sevenths


(IMAGE FROM BONNELL) The Girls Swim Team poses following Districts.

McKenzie Zobrist


On Saturday, February 1st, the Mariemont Girls’ Swim Team won CHL’s for the seventh year in a row, and they’re not ready to stop. The team will head to Canton, Ohio to compete in the State meet. 

Senior Captain Erin Kelly said, “The team atmosphere is very lively. It’s normally super positive and everyone–especially during postseason–is super pumped up at meets. We do a ton of team bonding outside of competitions and practices.”

(PHOTO FROM BONNELL) The relay team, Erin Kelly, Lydia Eberline, Jaqueline Young and Elizabeth Bonnell pose following the District meet. The relay team will be competing together at State on February 19-21.

Heading into the State competition, the girls team took home first place overall in the District Meet: first place in the 200-Yard Medley Relay (Jacqueline Young, Erin Kelly, Lydia Eberline, Elizabeth Bonnell); first place in the 200-Yard I.M. (Jacqueline Young); and first place in the 100-Yard Backstroke (Elizabeth Bonnell).

Jacqueline Young received Player of the Year, coach Henry Thoman received Coach of the Year, and the 200-Yard Medley Relay Team received First Team. The success of the girls swim team is nothing new, and it all comes down to the composition of the team.

During practices–typically held 5 days a week with an optional Saturday morning practice–the team manages to get work done while still having a balance of fun. Sophomore Daniela Decamp said, “We normally do dry land or weights before getting into the pool for our actual practice, which is actuallypretty tough. Sometimes we play games or have a fun practice.”

Other swimmers, like senior captain Elizabeth Bonnell, swim on their other club teams but participate in the high school events. Bonnell said, “I practice year round with my club team, and I practice 6 days a week from 4-7 ish with a couple of morning practices.” 

She added, “Swimming is much more team reliant than one might think. Surrounding yourself with positivity–as cheesy as it may sound–is so essential to swimming successfully.”

For the Mariemont swim program, teamwork is a key aspect. Kelly said, “Though swimming is definitely an individual competition (except for relays), it’s a team sport. It’s super important for people to be positive and encourage each other because that’s what makes it fun. Individual attitudes affect everyone on the team. Plus, it’s always fun to say that your team won a meet.”

In previous years, Mariemont has had one standout swimmer lead the team to State. This year, the effort is shared among several athletes. Decamp said, “Our 200 Medley Relay is definitely our best event, and we’ll probably go to State for it.”

(PHOTO FROM BONNELL) Girls Swim Team Captains Erin Kelly, Ellie Lewis, Elizabeth Bonnell, and Leah Warden pose together following Districts.

With State approaching February 19-22, the team tapers to get ready for the competition. Kelly said, “We have the worst and hardest practices leading up to two weeks before State, and then during that week we have easy practices so that we can give our bodies a rest.”

Swimmers, like Bonnell, who swim on club teams and also compete with the school team need to build chemistry before their events. 

Bonnell said, “Those girls and I who are preparing for our relay, though, are not only physically preparing now, but we have been mentally preparing for weeks. Every time we swim a relay together, we can understand each other’s abilities that much more. We can trust each other to swim well and help get us to that next level. It’s amazing the bond I have built with these girls over just a short period of time.”

While we all can’t be part of the State-bound swim team, Bonnell gives us insight on what happens. 

“With tons of traditions–I can’t say all of them since they are ‘top secret’–such as going to a local thrift store and buying the most ridiculous outfit you can and then wearing it to a team dinner, Mariemont makes State the most fun anyone will have at a swim meet. The insane energy there hypes up the whole team and a crazy amount of scream-cheering occurs. It’s just so amazing, I can barely put it into words!”