For most of the summer swimming season, the Deer Brook Swim Club’s girls’ 9–10 200-meter freestyle relay team had come within a second of the club record numerous times with multiple combinations of swimmers.
For the biggest meet of the year at the Tri-County Swimming Pool Association Championships, the team went with the combination of Abby Zane, Lilly Derivaux, Kalena Gatesman and Maggie Hill to swim in the event.
That team of four was not only able to break to swim club’s record time in the event, but it also broke a much larger record.
Deer Brook won the girls’ 9–10 200-meter freestyle relay with a time of 2:10.72, breaking Pheasant Run Swim Club’s record time in 2006 by more than three seconds. Deer Brook outdistanced Erlton Swim Club by more than two seconds to win the race.
Abby said there was a lot of excitement among her and her teammates after their record finish.
“Once we got out of the pool, it was like ‘oh my gosh we set a new record,’” Abby said. “Then it just dies down and then it comes back up. Whenever someone brings it up again, you get so excited.”
Lilly felt the strength of the competition at Tri-County was what made setting the record most special.
“It was a great achievement because the competition was so strong,” she said.
Abby, Lilly and Kalena had been a part of the relay team for most of the season, but all of them missed a meet or two at different parts of the season, forcing the team to shuffle the lineup in a number of weeks.
Abby said the constantly shuffling lineup made it difficult to compare the relay team’s times from meets.
“It was hard because people had different speeds and different touches,” she said.
In addition, Maggie did not swim in the freestyle relay until the Tri-County meet. Maggie missed the early part of the season due to an illness. Once she got back into the pool, it took her a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things.
“It was difficult to come back because it meant I had to work especially hard,” Maggie said.
Despite the late start to the season, Maggie didn’t feel deterred from shooting her personal best times, a goal she has during every swimming season.
“Each year I always go for a personal best,” she said. “I want to do the best I can do.”
All of the girls have been swimming competitively for Deer Brook for a few years now. Abby said she enjoys swimming because of the feeling of freedom she has in the pool.
“It’s the closest thing to flying,” she said. “It feels refreshing and it feels good. It feels like that’s where I belong.”
Maggie said swimming was one of her favorite hobbies and it keeps her coming back every summer.
“I like swimming just because it’s a lot of fun,” Maggie said.
Lilly said she enjoys swimming in the relays and cheering her friends on, but she doesn’t remember a relay ever being as exciting as this year’s Tri-County meet.
“Cheering each other on during relays is always fun, but to cheer each other on during a record breaking swim was the most exciting,” Lilly said.
The Tri-County season is over for another summer, but all of the girls are already looking ahead to the 2016 season and achieving new personal bests. Some girls, such as Abby, are looking way beyond next season in their swimming careers.
“I want to go and swim in college some day,” she said.