The Lady Knights swim and dive team has had many great accomplishments this year, including a record of 7-3 and several great invitationals. One of their biggest is their victory over Battle Creek Lakeview, beating them with a score of 110-76 and putting a mark in the history books.
This is the Lady Knight’s first time beating Lakeview since the women’s swim program started in in the early 1970’s. Lakeview is always a force to be reckoned with, having countless conference championship banners hanging on their pool deck.
Coach Paul Mahar has been working to build up the men’s and women’s swim programs over his past 14 years coaching. He’s accomplished this by helping to build youth ‘learn to swim’ and competitive swim programs with Communities in Schools for the Kalamazoo/Portage areas.
Now, after having helped create a club program for ‘off season’ and youth training along with a middle school competitive co-op team for the Kalamazoo Public Schools district, he’s finally seeing the results. After spending years building a base for his athletes, coach Mahar has been able to reach new heights with his teams.
With a strong group of freshmen that swam before entering high school and good swimmers training year round throughout every class, the future of the Lady Knight’s swim team looks promising.
“The girls are looking very strong this year, ” said senior manager Reilly Malpass.
“The teams going to get really good in the next few years, ” said senior manager Mitchell Mansfield. Having placed 7th, 3rd and 1st in the conference over the past 3 years, with the the men’s team seeing similar progress, both managers see a bright future for the women’s team.
Mahar has strengthened the swim program all round by getting kids to commit. With morning practices 3 days a week, a 2 hour practice everyday after school and 2 hour practice every Saturday morning, it’s no small feat to do what these ladies do.
Most sports teams practice for 1-3 hours after school Monday through Friday, while these ladies put in around 27 hours every week in the pool on top of all their school work and their social life.
There are approximately 35 hours a week of school, not including homework, and it is recommended that teenagers get 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night which totals up to 56-63 hours. There are 168 hours in a week, and these ladies spend approximately 122 hours sleeping, swimming and going to school, this is not including transportation, eating or homework. That takes dedication, and that’s why his program is strong.
“Our team has made great strides within the past year. We hope to go into conference strong and come out happy with our results,” said junior Ellie Nagel-Bennett.
Many of the ladies are dreading the day that swim’s over and looking forward to it at the same time. All those practices on top of school leave them with little time for much else. It’s a seemingly endless cycle of school swim, eat, repeat, but they love it all the same.
Even through all the hard work they do, work that tears the body down, they have managed to swim at a very high level. They’ve competed with teams this year that usually do very well at the state meet.
The Lady Knights beat Lakeview soundly this time. The Ladies are steadily improving and are aiming to place high at their conference meet that’s just around the corner. With their major training over, the girls will decline their yardage and rest their bodies so they can swim their best at the conference meet on November, 3rd and 4th.
Mahar is excited to see how his girls will place after what’s been a great season for the Lady Knights. Loy Norrix Swimming and Diving is a program for people to watch out for with the Men’s team winning a conference title over the winter, and the the Lady’s strong dual meet season, the conference meet will be one to watch.