Preparing for States, Swim Team’s Confidence Grows

Luca Anerino '26, Staff Reporter

With the 2022-2023 Archmere swim season reaching a finish, the State Team prepared to enter the last meet of the season: the DIAA State Championship. The team, led by coaches Steph Gant and Archmere alum Eric Campbell, had lots of mixed emotions going into the final races of the year but had high hopes for their performance. For some, it’s their first state meet, while others participated in their last and final high school meet before they graduate. Among the four 9th graders on the Archmere Swim Team, Kaitie Hickey was one of two who earned a role in this major meet and contributed to the team as a leg in the girl’s 400-yard freestyle relay. Kaitie worked hard all year to earn her spot on this relay and hoped to provide success to the team without falter. When asked about her feelings and goals going into the tremendous meet, she replied, “I feel a little nervous but I think we’ve trained a lot and practiced a lot so I think we’ll be fine. My main goal is to not let my teammates down since I’m in a relay and also to not DQ or false start.”

Nervousness is certainly not unique to only Kaitie while most swimmers are battling their own nerves. However, the team worked hard in practice to make sure that they are in their best shape for the meet and also to lessen the pressure of failure. While some were new to the big scene, Head Coach Steph Gant is certainly familiar with the event, having coached Archmere Swim for more than 15 years. “I feel really confident,” Coach Gant says, “I think everyone will swim past my expec- tations and first time swimmers are going to surpass their limits with the amount of energy this meet brings.” With her high but achievable goals, the bar was set high for everyone, leaving little room for error in this tense meet.

Along with the goal of best time, Coach Gant also aims for the podium when asked about goals for her swimmers. “I want everyone to make top 16, especially our relays. If we can, I would even like for our relays to be top eight- all three of them.” With hefty goals set for the team, the swimmers were sure to be at the top of their game going forward into the state championship. First-year swimmers may feel the most nerves out of everyone, but veteran seniors Annamaria DeCamp and Nate Bustard know what to expect inside this environment. Team Captain Nate Bustard has been included in the state team since 9th grade and had words to give for the first time state swimmers. “I hope the younger swimmers are inspired to work harder and place better every year they go to States,” Bustard said. While setting great goals for the younger swimmers, he also set goals for himself.
“I want to get on the podium for states,” he said when asked about his ambitions. High-set goals seemed to be a common theme among all swimmers showing great intent on placing high. Considering all their hard work and preparation for this big meet, the Archmere Swim Team was ready to take on this challenge and leave no regrets in the pool.