A new season for the Swim Hawks has begun, and the team is alight with energy and eagerness to tackle the challenges ahead. The new coach for the Hawks, Gabrielle Koellisch, is excited to be leading the team.

Zakaria Lamri said about Coach Koellisch, “I think she’s wonderful! I enjoy her coaching and I think she pushes us just outside of our comfort zones so that we can all work harder and succeed as a team.”

Junior Elaine Wright said, “Coach Gabby is great! She’s doing a wonderful job in her first year with the team. The season has been a very positive experience so far.”

Sophomores Michael Artzi and Alice Bates agree that the most challenging part of practice is dry land, which is filled with push-ups, planks, sit-ups, and burpees: everyone’s favorite exercises.

The Hawks have had two meets, and both have gone well. The first meet was against Canyon del Oro and Flowing Wells. Lora Calonje, Ari Williams, and Michael Artzi swam butterfly. Lamri, Hannah Emami, and Ben Siemens swam breast stroke. Almost all of the team members swam freestyle. Artzi swam backstroke, and Violeta Keifer and Siemens swam in the distance races.

The team is stacked with speed.  “I was impressed by all the new swimmers this year in their first meet. Ian scored us a lot of points while Lora and Ari swam great butterfly in the relays. Also, Alice set a new personal record,” said Wright.

In the second meet, “They had a gigantic team,” said Lamri. “We got a close second with our humble team of 16, which says something.” The team’s meet took place at Fort Lowell.

Wright said, “The seniors did amazing in their second-to-last home meet! Bridget has already made the qualifying time for state in the 50 freestyle. Violeta was such a trooper in the 200 and 500 freestyle distance races. And Skye was a great asset to his relay team.”

For new member, sophomore Alice Bates, the swim team was a change that she was ready for. She loves the supportive environment, and said that all of her teammates have already been incredibly encouraging and helpful. “We have really strong swimmers who already have state times, so I think it will be a great season. Violeta and Bridget play huge roles in leading the team.”

Seniors and team captains Violeta Keifer and Bridget Norman have worked hard as returning swimmers to guarantee the success of the team and the adjustment from relaxed swimming to swimming competitively.

Wright, Calonje, Norman, and Emami all hoped to qualify for the state tournament in the 200 freestyle. With times only 0.03 seconds away from making it in, and their strong performances in last week’s invitational meant that they made it into the state tournament this fall. The last home meet for the team took place Thursday, October 8. Then, the Hawks are headed to the state tournament. With a team full of spirit and potential, the odds are with them to place and do well there.