by Paige Stahley ’20
With the winter sports season in full swing, several athletes are putting in the work on the court by shooting hoops or playing bocce, practicing wrestling skills on the mat, or running indoor track to stay in shape. Or, if you are the Sherwood swim team, you are trying to uphold a reputation of being some of the fastest swimmers in the state.
According to Coach Brendan Lees, the Sherwood girls’ swim team is known throughout the state for being one of the “powerhouses” of girls’ swimming for the past six years. With six straight 4A/3A North Regional titles, three runner-up titles at States, one runner-up at Metros, one state championship, and one D.C. Metros Championship under their belts, the pressure is on for the girls to swim to their full potential and strive to make each year better than the last. Along with focusing on upholding their winning streak, two Sherwood swimmers this year are also preparing to swim in college.
Seniors Kelly Kolanowski and Grace Giddings have both been on the Sherwood swim team since they were freshmen. The word dedication is an understatement for these two swimmers. Both girls swim for clubs outside of school, which can add up to having ten practices a week. Giddings, who will be attending the University of Pennsylvania, and Kolanowski, who will be attending the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, have high expectations for this season, looking to finish their swimming careers at Sherwood on a good note.
“The goal this season is definitely to win States and Metros again [as a team], but we know we must work hard and stay humble in order to do so,” said Giddings.
As the girls look to claim their second Metros championship in three years, upperclassmen including Giddings and Kolanowski will be well-rounded due to the freshmen, sophomores and juniors who are expected to contribute toward the ongoing legacy. “I think [the success of Sherwood swim] is very motivating for them to do their best,” said Lees. “About six years ago, we started getting a steady flow of new swimmers every year that have helped contribute to our team’s success. Once that started, it has motivated more and more of our swimmers to keep working harder to get better.”
Being on a team that is consistently successful brings on the pressure not only for the seniors, but for the rising upperclassmen as well. One of these swimmers is sophomore Amanda Wenhold, who is turning the hype into drive.
“Some may think of living up to the legacy as a lot of pressure, but I look at it as a goal and something that would be cool to continue,” said Wenhold.
Whether they are using their reputation as pressure or motivation, Sherwood girls’ swimming must be doing something right. With a prediction of yet another standout season, the real question is: who can stop Sherwood girls’ swim?