Edina Girls’ Swim and Dive speeds to the top: intense practice leads to notable success

Ellen Mi, staff writer

During the school year, homework and extracurriculars fill up the nights of most Edina High School students; however, for EHS Varsity Girls’ Swim and Dive (ESAD), swimmers’ dryland practices run from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., twice a week on top of their nightly practices, making it difficult for swimmers and divers to balance school, practices, and life. Nevertheless, these intense and lengthy practices are likely to be the reason why ESAD has won the State Championship two years in a row.

It seems as though their past successes are leaving swimmers and divers hungry for another state trophy. In order to continue improving, the athletes set personal goals, like “making it to state every year and becoming a mentor for some of the younger girls on the team,” sophomore Claudia Chang said. Having started as an eighth grade swimmer in her first year, Chang says that she had older swimmers help her throughout the years, and wishes to do the same for the younger girls on the team. Even though she says there’s less time for homework. “Swimming has taught me time management – everybody’s learned that – and prioritization which is important to learn now,” Chang said.

Although most of the girls on the team already know each other from swimming for clubs during the off-season, captain and senior Emma Berdelman plans to continue emphasizing support within the team.“At the end of the year, we’ll try to get more people to come to cheer for girls at JV conference or cheer for people at sections because I think that that does help a lot to see a group of people in the stands rooting for you,” Berdelman said. Berdelman made it clear that ESAD isn’t placing competitive emphasis on “defending the state title” but rather focusing on improvements within the entire team. On the bright side, “morning practices allow us to have more time for homework compared to past years,” Berdelman said.

Although diving and swimming practices run separately from each other, junior Megan Phillip says that if the team wants to win state again, they will have to “work harder than before because many amazing seniors left”. Phillip herself has been diving for around seven years and developed her interest primarily through the diving legacy within her family. However, with success comes hard work and perseverance. “I sprained my ankle really really badly, like it was crazy how I didn’t break my ankle – and this was a couple days before sections – but I still really wanted to go to state and help the team, so I had to put a lot of extra work to help strengthen my ankle,” Phillip said. At sections, Phillip continued diving and ended up breaking her personal record which later reflected in her performance at state as well.

However, ESAD’s success doesn’t go unnoticed outside of Edina. EHS swimmers and divers have been recruited by many reputable colleges and universities, including UCLA, University of Texas, and Yale. Phillip, like many other upperclassmen swimmers and divers, has already begun the recruitment process. And, as a long-term goal, Phillip hopes to make it to the Olympics one day to further her career as a diver. So, it seems as though ESAD’s legacy will last even after senior swimmers and divers say goodbye to EHS, as many will pursue the sport through college and beyond.