Written by Alexis Barton
Last weekend, the men’s and women’s swim teams dominated the pool at the 2021 ODAC Swimming Championships. With the men taking first place and the women taking second, the day was made up of success after success for quite a few of our Maroons. Through two days of competition, the Maroons were able to win event after event, starting off with the 400 Medley Relay. For the women, Maddie Andrews, Sarah Virginia Scott, Kimberly Large, and Elizabeth Roberts set the tone early in the day with a solid 3:58.78 time to launch them into second place. The men were led by Richie Evans, Connor Kinkema, Ben Tate, and Xavier Williams to a first-place finish with a time of 3:23.61. The Maroons continued their success in a number of individual events as well, including Maddie Andrews’ second-place finish in the 200 backstroke, Nick McGrath’s first-place finish in the 50 freestyle, and Connor Kinkema’s ODAC record-breaking time of 56 seconds in the 100 breaststroke.
The championships did, however, mark the end of an era for some Maroons, including senior Sarah Virginia Scott. After four years of commitment to the program, Scott was filled with joy not only to watch the men’s team win big, but also to reach personal goals along the way. “I’ve felt the most personal success when I finished my final race in the 200 breaststroke and swam my best time. Every year as a team we improve as teammates and as swimmers, we are always compared to the year before”. Making significant improvements as an athlete, as Scott mentions, is always the goal, but it has become increasingly difficult in the midst of a global pandemic. Changes to practices, training, and the overall college experience has proved to be a significant challenge. One of the major obstacles, Scott mentions, was, “…having to change our normal practice routines due to COVID, having an extended season, and having separated practice times. My coaches Scott Thacker and Brandon Ress worked extremely hard this year to ensure practices were properly socially distanced and that we were being as safe as possible as a team”.
As their time at Roanoke draws to a close, Scott reflects on what it has meant to be a Maroon, saying, “My time at Roanoke and my time on the swim team has taught me not to take anything for granted because we often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone”. Scott’s message rings especially true during a time where every aspect of our social lives has changed drastically. “My final message to my teammates and supporters is thank you. Thank you to the parents and friends who came to every swim meet and supported our team along this journey. Thank you to my teammates who have made these four years unforgettable”. Though the swim season has come to a close, be sure to keep an eye out next fall as these Maroons aim to defend their title and continue their success in the pool. Go Maroons!