Boys’ Swim prepares for Section Meet

The Red Knights are ready for Sections, and some swimmers on the team are hoping to once again qualify for State.


Morgan Williams

Senior Michael Hunter hopes to qualify for State for the third year in a row.

After a year of ups and downs and a record close to .500, the Benilde-St. Margaret’s Boys’ Swim Team heads into Sections this weekend after placing second in their most recent meet.  With the preliminary races on Thursday and finals on Saturday, some of the Red Knight swimmers look to qualify for the State Meet.

Last year, many swimmers advanced from the Section Meet and made it to State.  “Some of us made it to State last year and we are hoping to do it again this year,” senior captain Michael Hunter said. 

Their State appearance last year was not all that the Red Knights had hoped for. Current junior, Matt McGonigle, had an unfortunate mishap last year. “Last year, I got disqualified.  You aren’t allowed to move once you get on the block. But I twitched on the block in the biggest meet of the year and got disqualified, so this year is comeback year,” McGonigle said.

McGonigle hopes to bounce back this year in the long-distance 500 yard freestyle.  “It all comes with hard work and grit to keep swimming for that long. I’ll grind it out,” McGonigle said.

The swimming regime takes some extra precautions in order to be their best selves come race time. First, they follow a special workout program. “Two weeks before Sections, we have super hard practices for seven days. Then, a week before sections, we tone it down and relax the muscles, which is called taper, allowing for maximum performance,” Hunter said.

Second, the team prepares for the race by shaving all of their limbs in order to become as slick as possible. “We shave the day before Sections and it’s definitely a different feeling. All of a sudden the hair is gone, and your legs are just slick.  Every year it gets a little bit bloody with some slips of the razor, but at this point, it is just a tradition,” Hunter said.

Lastly, the team wears special suits for the meet to gain the last bit of speed they can. “We wear compression speed suits that repel water and allow for the fastest times of the year,” McGonigle said.

Although they face tough competition, the team believes everyone will drop time swim their best. “I try not to give myself expectations, but myself and the team have worked really hard to try and swim as fast as possible, and now it’s just time to see it pay off,” Hunter said.