Mountain View’s girls swimming program found itself among the top-three teams in the state last season after both the Division I final and Meet of Champions.
With a slew of returning star swimmers for the 2020 season, head coach Glen Coy admitted winning is one of the top priorities of the program. But this season has already presented more challenges than in previous year’s due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Challenging is a good word for it,” Coy said. “We are lucky in the sense that we have enough room to spread them out in the pool. We can only have three per lane so while it’s a bit of a challenge to walk from one end of the pool to the other to coach, some programs have to split their practices into two.
“The first few weeks were really tough with new kids. Especially having to learn names but stay spread out.”
But if there’s one thing Coy and the Mountain View swim program has going for the 2020 season, it’s returning swimmers Emma Becker, Jessica Franco and Anna Thompson.
All three were catalysts in the Toros’ success last season, and Coy will once again look to them as leaders both in and out of the water.
“Emma is an obvious one that will be strong for us,” Coy said. “But Jessica Franco has done really well, she’s been swimming fantastic throughout the season. Anna Thompson has really stepped up and has swam some fast times in practice.”
Becker, a junior, was hurt most of the offseason heading into her sophomore year. It wasn’t until about this time last year she was finally healthy enough to compete both in practice and dual meets.
But even while lagging behind her teammates, she thrived in her two events, 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley (IM).
Becker won the state title in the 100-yard breaststroke and placed third overall in the 200-yard IM. At the Meet of Champions, she placed second in both events.
“I only won the 100-breast so I’m definitely aiming to win both of my events this year and then into my senior year,” Becker said. “I think we have a strong team dynamic. As long as we can come together and rally behind one another, I think we have what it takes to take that next step.”
Like most swim programs, the girls and boys of Mountain View felt as if they were in limbo throughout the summer. It wasn’t until the AIA Executive Board voted to approve the fall sports timeline in early August that they began practices.
The AIA in its return-to-play guidelines said teams could compete virtually at their separate training facilities. For Mountain View, that would mean utilizing Kino Aquatic Center. While still a competition, Becker said it would be less than ideal for the meet to be held virtually.
“Fingers crossed it isn’t virtual,” Becker said. “It’s really fun to see your friends and compete against them on another team. It’s one thing to see them on SnapChat or Instagram but being in-person just makes it better.”
Robert Ronan, the head coach of the Mountain View boys swim team, said he hopes the logistics get worked out in a timely manner to allow both teams to prepare.
“As a coaching staff, we are cautiously optimistic on the possibility of live meets,” Ronan said. “Our focus every day is on everyone being safe and staying healthy, just being thankful that we have the opportunity to get together each day and do something we all love.”
Expectations remain high on the boys side as well for the Toros, as they have nine key returning swimmers from last year’s team that placed sixth at state.
Ronan said he aims for them to step up as leaders on and off the pool deck, motivating teammates during their individual races in meets. He understands the 2020 season presents a unique challenge in itself with all that has transpired outside of the pool.
But Ronan feels his boys are prepared enough to take that next step and compete with the likes of Brophy, who the Toros face Thursday, and Chaparral for a state title.
“While we miss all of the Mountain View traditions that usually occur during a season, they boys are surprisingly upbeat about just being able to get together and train as a team,” Ronan said. “The kids are excited to do just about anything that feels normal.”
Both the Mountain View boys and girls swim teams will have their first dual meet of the 2020 season on Thursday, Sept. 24 beginning at 4 p.m. The girls will face Xavier Prep, while the boys take on Brophy.