Archer swimmers compete in CIF Division 2 finals, place 10th out of 50 schools

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Photo credit: Kim Smith

Swimmers Thea Leimone (’22), Chloe Resnick (’24), Amelia Hines (’24) and Lacey Thompson (’24) compete in the CIF Division 2 finals in Mission Viejo May 6. This was the team’s first time competing in the event. “Even though it was about results — and that’s what you’ll see in the weekly emails — the biggest part of the swim season is being together and being a part of a team,” Hines said.

By Cadence Callahan, Senior Reporter

Sophomores Amelia Hines, Lacey Thompson and Chloe Resnick and senior Thea Leimone went to Mission Viejo Friday, May 6, to compete in the California Interscholastic Federation Division 2 finals.

The California Interscholastic Federation is the governing body for high school sports throughout California. CIF membership includes both private and public high schools. This was the varsity swim team’s first time competing in the Division 2 finals, and the final consisted of Division 1 and Division 2 schools.

CIF is divided into four divisions, with the top teams being ranked Division 1 and the remaining teams falling into the subsequent divisions. Throughout the swim season, the top 32 swimmers are chosen from each event to compete in the CIF preliminary finals. After competing in the preliminary finals, 16 swimmers are chosen to compete in the CIF finals later in the week. During finals, swimmers compete for medals and points.

Throughout the season, the varsity swim team competed in nine meets, winning seven of them. This year, the varsity swim team was recognized as a Division 2 school, a ranking the team has never held before. Despite being nervous going into the competition, Hines said the team’s dedication and performance exceeded expectations.

“We were moved up to D2 this year, which we were very anxious about. We did so much better than I thought we were going to,” Hines said. “Our regular season is so important because we have to get the best time possible to qualify. In finals, our school got 10th out of 50 teams, which is good considering only four of us qualified for finals.”

It’s not that surprising that we did well as each year. We get faster and faster and push ourselves further to accomplish our goals. So seeing it pay off, while it was exciting, I knew it was what we deserved.”

— Lacey Thompson ('24)

Hines competed in the 200-yard freestyle, and Leimone competed in the 200-yard individual medley. Both Hines and Leimone competed in the 500-yard freestyle. All four swimmers competed in the 200-yard relay, with each swimmer completing 50-yards, and the four by 100-yard relay, with each swimmer completing 100-yards.

“The relay events are different because you rely on your team more, and everyone’s competing with more people,” Hines said. “It’s really crucial that everyone does a good swim, whereas, in your individual events, you only have to worry about yourself.”

Leimone has been swimming on the varsity team for four years and, over spring break, was invited to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs along with Hines. Leimone said the team has greatly improved since she was a freshman.

“It was really exciting this year because it was our first real CIF back since my freshman year. It’s kind of crazy because, during my freshman year, we were D4, which is the lowest division,” Leimone said. “We moved up to D3 magically, and it was a total scramble, but we did pretty well there too. Somehow we were moved up to D2 this year. I love the pool, it’s an absolutely gorgeous facility, so I was so happy that was where my last CIF was.”

Thompson said there was a lot of emotion and celebration throughout the entire event, and she was supported and encouraged by her coaches and peers to do her best.

“Swimming is a very mental sport, so being in the right mindset and having a certain outlook before your race is important. Our coaches really promote positivity and being one with yourself while you’re swimming,” Thompson said. “I had my school coach and club coach help me and help everyone on the team have this collected team spirit to keep going and to swim our best.”

At the CIF individual finals, the team was recognized as 10 out of the 50 schools that competed. Leimone said she found the placement surprising because the team only had two individual medley qualifiers, and she hopes the team will have another year to improve before competing in the Division 1 finals.

“When they were announcing the current places, and I heard [we placed] 10th, I was blown away. Amelia and I did pretty well, but all things considered, that’s very impressive for a school that was D4 three years ago,” Leimone said. “I know it will definitely be a challenge if they get moved up to D1 next year. I honestly hope that they get to stay in D2 next year because then the team can improve more and place even better.”

With this being Leimone’s last time swimming for Archer before joining Barnard College’s swim team, she reflected on her experience on the team and the connections she fostered with her fellow swimmers.

“I’m feeling a little sentimental but generally really proud. My team is an incredible group of girls. They’re some of my closest friends, and I love them,” Leiomone said. “My swimming journey at Archer has been very interesting and exciting — not typical for a high school athlete. It’s changed a lot over the past four years, and it was cool reflecting on how far we’ve come from D4 to D2. Overall, it was a successful meet and a nice way to close out the season.”