The AHS Swim and Dive team won their 250th meet against Acton-Boxborough, who up until then were undefeated. The athletes and their coach, Marilyn Fitzgerald, celebrated afterward and were ecstatic when they realized they had made it to 250.
Coach Fitzgerald stated, “I was really happy at the end of the meet. The team had planned a celebration which was a total surprise. As I reflected back on the day, my overriding feeling was one of gratitude to have been in the position to coach so many wonderful student athletes for so many years.”
Coach Fitzgerald has been coaching the Swim and Dive team for 24 years, and all 250 wins occurred under her leadership. She explains that, “There are usually only 9 – 12 dual meets per season unlike a basketball or baseball team which has 18-20 games a season.” The swim team has less time for winning opportunities in the season so to reach 250 is an impressive feat.
To achieve this goal, Coach Fitzgerald explains, “I have several strategies or coaching philosophies that I use to help the girls be successful. Preparation is the most obvious one. It is my job to give the girls the specific skills and training needed to compete at the Varsity level. I also use motivational tools to get the team to believe in their own ability so they can challenge themselves each day.”
As for the strongest event for the team, “This year’s team is one that has “depth”. That means we have strength in all twelve scoring events. It would be hard to pinpoint just one event, but we have fifteen team members who have qualified for the Sectional or State Tournament in the 100 Butterfly. That has not happened before.” With motivation from their coach and a wide range of talent, the AHS Swim and Dive team made it to victory for the 250th time.
Sophomore swimmer Jesse Ford states her excitement on the win against Acton-Boxborough, though it being the 250th win was a surprise. “I honestly didn’t know it was our 250th win until I saw cake. Once I realized that I felt this overwhelming joy because I was a part of that win. I know it meant a lot to my coach.” To everyone who contributed to this memorable win, it was a very important moment and their success will not be soon forgotten.
By Audrey Gallacher