Kathryn Field is a sports journalism student at Arizona State University covering Arizona College Preparatory athletics.
With an unusually young team, Arizona College Prep swim is looking to continue its undefeated meet streak against Seton Catholic and Saguaro High School on Oct. 7.
ACP swim has yet to lose and has won almost every meet by at least 50 points. The only exception was against American Leadership Academy Queen Creek on Sept. 23, which ACP won 86-82.
Head coach Carson Sundem, in his first year as ACP swim coach, has certainly noticed the difference in maturity that comes with having a young team. However, he is impressed by the bond the team already has.
“I definitely think that for such a young team, the chemistry is above average,” said Sundem.
Despite the average age of the team being younger than in past years, ACP is competing very well. The boys 400-meter free relay is ranked second in the state, and the team is focused on continuing to improve.
“We’re really expecting to make a jump and try to aim for that first place in the state,” said Sundem.
The team, although placing well, is still looking to make individual improvements. Junior Diego Rios has not seen as much improvement in his times as he would have liked, but he has been working on improving his technique.
“I know that if I can keep working at it a little bit longer, then I’m definitely going to see the improvement in my times,” said Rios.
The youth and lack of experience on the team has forced ACP to put a major focus on improving everyone throughout the season. Many swimmers had never swam competitively before this season and needed to learn proper technique while also handling a drastic increase in training.
Freshman Jaden Lines has seen the amount of training increase significantly in his first year of high school swimming. The team is doing dryland practice every day, as well as swimming close to 5000 yards a day.
Sophomore Tiago Wakefield has been impressed with the improvements he has seen on the team thus far. Many swimmers on the ACP team do not swim for a club and the high school swim season is the only time they compete, so many of them have not trained since the last season, or at all for the freshmen swimmers. Wakefield expects to see the team continue to improve in the next meet against Saguaro and Seton Catholic, and throughout the rest of the season.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing that pan out, especially with all the freshmen on our team,” said Wakefield.
Sundem hopes to see the 400-meter free relay team improve upon their best time of 3:35.79 throughout the season and challenge other teams. Seton Catholic and Saguaro have 400-meter free relay best times of 4:07.56 and 3:54.24 respectively.
ACP will face Seton Catholic Prep and Saguaro High School on Oct. 7 at El Dorado Aquatic Center in Scottsdale, Ariz.