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Varsity swimmers champion CIF finals, make Archer history

Varsity swimmer Meredith Ho (’26) dives into the pool at the Mount San Antonio College which held the CIF playoffs May 1. Lacey Thompson (’24) Meredith Ho (’26) Alexa Grant (’26) and Amelia Hines (’24) made Archer history by winning the 200 yard freestyle event at CIF finals. Photo courtesy of Archer Athletics

Standing on the block, hearts racing, Archer’s relay swim team prepared to propel into the water at the California Interscholastic Federation championship swim meet May 1.

The varsity swim season started Jan. 29 and the team was comprised of 12 varsity swimmers, with 8 of them competing at CIF preliminaries.

Swimmers Alexa Grant (’26), Meredith Ho (’26), Lacey Thompson (’24) and Amelia Hines (’24) made Archer history by winning the 200 yard freestyle relay. The four placed second in the 400 yard freestyle relay. Additionally, Hines won the 500 yard freestyle and qualified for the CIF state competition. The team finished second out of 65 teams and are the CIF D3 finalists.

Sophomore Alexa Grant said CIF playoffs felt particularly exciting due to the new pool and stadium at the meet. Their head coach Wilma Wong, had them prepare by tapping their faces, a tactic they employed to help relieve anxiety before racing.

“My goal was really to win the championship for the 200 free relay because we were second [in the 400 yard freestyle] so we were really close,” Grant said. “That was our big goal, which we accomplished.”

Freshman Ella Tulloch had only been swimming for a year before she swam for Archer at the CIF preliminaries. Along with other varsity swimmers, Tulloch participates in club swim outside of school and balances varsity and club swim practices each week. To prepare for playoffs, she attended Archer practices three to four times a week and attended her club practices five to six times a week.

Tulloch swam one event: the 50 yard freestyle leg of the 200 yard medley relay. Next year she hopes to compete in an individual event.

“I thought it was really fun — there’s a big board with all the scores, you can kind of see all the events that are going and see everyone’s times really easily,” Tulloch said. “It’s a big stadium, so there’s a lot of people cheering the whole time so it’s really fun.”

Archer’s winning relay team warmed up and swam with each other ahead of their anticipated 200 yard freestyle race. Grant said swimming in relays with her teammates requires them to build trust and push each other. Grant said it was important for them to have fun with each other and share a sense of camaraderie. Her team enjoyed the victory on the bus ride home alongside each other.

“[It’s important] being there for each other and holding each other accountable,” Grant said. “We all know that we can achieve different goals and push each other.”

Senior Nina Arjomand competed in her second CIF playoff event, the 200 yard inter medley relay with the Archer team. Before the meet, she set goals to decrease her race time and wanted to enjoy being with her team, competing for last time.

“[My goal] was to drop time and just to have a good time overall,” Arjomand said. “I think it’s definitely just a fun experience to have and I’m glad that I was able to drop time, and end my last swim season at Archer with a positive mindset.” 

8 swimmers on the team was given a chance to improve and display the work they have put into previous meets and practices this season. Some swimmers advanced to finals which were held May 3. 

“I think a few — two of the relays are in finals right now. Amelia and Lacey made finals for the individual cuts,” Arjomand said. “Then everyone who made [it to] prelims, everyone dropped time, everyone got their personal best time and everyone did really good.”

Despite the individuality of swim the team made an effort to connect across grade levels, by making a candy salad together — a new TikTok trend that encourages bonding and consists of teams and friends bringing different types of candy to mix together. During the team dinner seniors shared their own experience and gave advice to the younger swimmers. 

“[CIF has] been a lot of different than last year,” Grant said. “I think there was a lot more camaraderie [this year], it was so much less pressure.”

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About the Contributor
Maya Hernández
Maya Hernández, Staff Reporter
Maya Hernandez is in her first year on the Oracle as a Staff Reporter. She is on the Chess Team, is the leader of the Abortion Rights Club and is a member of the Ambassador Leadership Team Advisory Board.

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  • K

    Katie Ray McKillopMay 21, 2024 at 9:08 am

    Great article Maya!!