Cottonwood High School Swim Team Wraps Up SeasonJan 28, 2016 10:58AM ● By Bryan Scott
By Sarah Almond | [email protected]
Murray - For the Cottonwood High School swim team, Jan. 14 meant the end of a very successful swimming season. The team of 40 swimmers has only lost one dual meet out of seven total.
“We’ve had a really great season,” Sarah Ratzlaff, senior captain for the girls team, said. “We broke several Granite District records at our holiday invitational.”
The Colts did, in fact, break four Granite School District records: boys 200-yard medley relay, boys 100-yard backstroke, boys 100-yard breaststroke and the girls 100-yard backstroke. Freshman swimmers broke all but two of these records.
The team’s age gap is significant, with only five graduating seniors and about 20 new freshmen. Though the amount of experience might vary from swimmer to swimmer, the group as a whole is incredibly strong.
“I think we have a lot of good depth this year,” Ratzlaff said.
With practices being held every Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., the Colts train at least 10 hours a week.
“We also have swim class on “B” day mornings,” Ratzlaff said. “That’s mainly where we do dryland exercises, conditioning, and an hour or so of swimming.”
“A highlight of the year, for me, has been team bonding,” Ratzlaff said. “We’ve had several team dinners, we had holiday party with a white elephant which was really fun, and we have waffle parties. Swimming is a little bit of a different sport just because you’re in the water all the time, so we don’t get a lot of time to talk. So I think it’s really important just to create that team unity with everyone.”
Cottonwood High School is unique in the fact that it’s essentially two schools in one. Students from the Ames Academy are included in Cottonwood’s enrollment and thus allowed to participate in Cottonwood athletics.
“We have a lot of swimmers from Ames this year,” Ratzlaff said. “So we don’t see each other in the halls and stuff and that makes team bonding even more important.”
As far as other members of the swim team are concerned, team unity is one of the groups biggest strengths.
“We always cheer each other on during swim meets and that’s not something you see in every team,” freshman Thomas Micklos said. “It’s so awesome to have your whole team supporting you. It gives you so much confidence.”
“I think establishing team unity is especially important this year because we have such a young team. It’s important to create that bond for the freshman because they’ll have four full years together,” she said. “Even though our team is smaller than most of the other schools we swim against, I think that’s kinda what helps us be successful, you know? We’re small, but we’re a really powerful, united team.”
Though the Colts did graduate a few strong senior swimmers last year, this year’s group isn’t lacking leadership neither in nor out of the water.
“We’ve got a lot of kids back this year that have been doing a really great job,” Ron Lockwood, head coach of the Colts, said.
Senior Jonah Simon, the 2015 5A boy swimmer of the year, has been a strong leader this season, as has sophomore Rhyan White, the 2015 5A girl swimmer of the year.
“We’ve got a bunch of really strong athletes at the top,” Lockwood said. “It’s taken several years to build the depth of the program up, and we’re still looking to build the up volume of the team rather than just the talent of individual kids.”
Though the Colts, like all teams, have faced their fair share of challenges this year, all in all both Lockwood and his swimmers agree that the 2015-2016 season has been nothing short of a success.