It happens at some point in every sport. The breaking point: the point in which the metaphorical wall goes up and athletes have to fight with everything to break through.
High school girls swim teams are quickly reaching that point and with state competition two weeks away swimmers across the state are fighting harder than ever to break through.
Despite being ravaged by illness and exhaustion, the Evergreen Lady Cougars managed to score a 151-66 win against Conifer on Jan. 25 at the Wulf Recreation Center.
“We have a lot of girls who are sick,” Evergreen head coach Jeanne Godaire said.
Relay teams were shuffled around more out of necessity than trial-and-error, and girls came out of the water looking completely drained. One beacon of hope that the cold and flu season hasn’t hit too hard was Evergreen senior Myriah Ariza-Balter.
Ariza-Balter not only took first in each of her four events, solidifying her bid for state in the 200-medley relay (2 minutes, 3.77 seconds), the 100 butterfly (1:03.23), the 100 backstroke (1:04.80) and 400 freestyle relay (4:05.62), she did it while laughing and joking with her coaches during warm-ups. But even she is not immune to the strains that this point of the season brings.
“I am ready to start tapering,” chuckled Ariza-Balter, as she breathlessly lets her shoulders slump forward.
Tapering, as defined by the American Swimming Coaches Association, is “the reduction of workload during a period immediately prior to a major competition.” ASCA explains that tapering allows swimmers to adapt to, or “super-compensate” for the high level of work attained during training.
“We will start tapering some of the girls next week,” said Godaire. “And we’ll taper the girls who are going to state after that.”
Other winners for Evergreen were Josie Pearson (200 freestyle, 2:11.39), Bailey Smith (200 individual medley, 2:18.30), Kamryn Holland (50 freestyle, 26.38; 100 freestyle, 56.08), Bailey Mills (diving, 200.95), Lexie Malazdrewicz (500 freestyle, 5:08.93), 200 freestyle relay (1:54.29) and Lindsay Marrow (100 breaststroke, 1:09.76).
The 4A Jeffco League championships are Feb. 1-2 at the Carmody Rec Center in Lakewood.
The 4A state championships are Feb. 9-10 at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton.