Boys ranked third in the state, girls ranked fifth. Five state champions. Five swimmers on the Georgia High School Swimming Coaches Association All-State Team. A Chamblee student at the Olympic trials. These are just some of the things the Chamblee swim team accomplished last season. And this year, they’re aiming to do even better.
Head coaches Lorri Reynolds and Gregory Valley have their hands full this year, with over 140 kids on the team– a significant increase from the number of swimmers on the team last year. Despite the large crowd, Valley believes that this will help motivate the team.
“Having such a large team brings a lot of enthusiasm and energy to the meets,” said Valley.
Not only does it improve the meet atmosphere, but also the overall team dynamic.
“It’s kinda organized chaos, but the cheers are great, the camaraderie is great, you meet new people that you probably would never have met before, so I think to just be a part of something so good here is positive,” said Reynolds.
This year, the girls’ team lost their captain of two years, Rachel Solomon, who graduated in May. Reynolds chose Brynn Lautenbacher and Julia Von Biberstein as the new girls’ captains, and Carl Marwitz, Noah Oh, and Grant Burke as the boys’ captains.
Lautenbacher, a senior, has been on the team for four years now. She explains that it was hard to see Solomon graduate and leave the team. As one of the new captains this year, she hopes to help improve the team and provide motivation for all of the swimmers.
“The captains are partially there to keep everyone on track during warm-up or meets, but we also help lead the cheer and get people excited,” said Lautenbacher. “I think cheering is the best way to get everyone involved.”
The team’s first swim meet was on Thursday, November 3rd against Tucker and Paideia. Chamblee’s meets are set up similarly to pretty much all swim meets: students swim in races– individual and relay– and earn points for their team according to what place they get. The higher your place, the more points you score. The team with the most points wins.
Chamblee is already off to a great start this season. The girls’ team beat both Paideia and Tucker by over 50 points, and the boys’ beat both teams by over 100 points.
According to the coaches and many of the swimmers, the first meet couldn’t have gone better.
“The first meet is always hard because everyone is just starting to get back into the rhythm of things, but we did very well,” said Lautenbacher.
Sophomore Teresa Maloney, who broke two school records last season, relished the first meet.
“The first meet was the most exciting thing ever,” said Maloney. “We won, and that was really fun, and it was our first time swimming with our records above us. It was a really cool feeling to know that you’re representing your school in that way.”
Valley explains that, to some degree, the meets are also somewhat of a social event.
“Swim meets are a big party,” said Valley. “Yes, you have your races to compete in… but in between you get the opportunity to talk with over a hundred people.”
Reynolds expressed her enjoyment of the meet, as well. She is excited about the motivation and spirit that she can already see from the team.
“Everybody stays until the very last race. We make it a big team atmosphere and everyone buys into it.”