Through the first three weeks of their initial wave of practices, Patuxent High School first-year swim coach Cassi Beck has seen plenty of improvement and versatility among the roughly two dozen swimmers that comprise the Panthers squad for the potential 2021 winter season.
Wednesday, Dec. 23, marked the final round of evening practices at the Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center in Prince Frederick for Patuxent and fellow Southern Maryland Athletic Conference swim teams Calvert and Northern — Huntingtown practiced during the mornings — and Beck and two of her senior swimmers were all pleased with the team’s progression.
In addition to the time in the water, the coach and her athletes have enjoyed some much-needed camaraderie and social interactions that will resume again Jan. 11.
“Having swam for 16 years, I know the main thing for my kids here is to be able to be legal in every stroke,” said Beck, a 2013 Patuxent alum who swam the 200 individual medley through high school and college. “We haven’t had time trials yet, but I want the kids to do well in every stroke first. I can definitely see the improvement in all the swimmers. I’m hoping to see more from them when we start back.”
Patuxent senior Rose Lazer has definitely enjoyed her time in the water and the chance to interact with her classmates and teammates for 90 minutes at each practice.
Lazer, who is among the top five seniors in her class with a 4.3 GPA, has her sights set on dropping time in her two main events; the 100-yard backstroke and 100 butterfly.
“It’s been great being able to see everyone again at the pool,” Lazer said. “I haven’t had a chance to hang out with my friends in school since this started back in March. It’s great being able to see them here. My goal this year for the 100 fly is to get down to high 1:06 or low 1:07 and my goal for the 100 back is to get down to 1:09.”
Fellow Patuxent senior swimmer Abby Stewart, who is looking to play soccer in college, is seeking to drop time in distance events this winter. Stewart, who is currently among the top 25 seniors in the class of 2021 with a 4.2 GPA, is looking to establish personal best marks in both the 200 free and 500 free.
“It’s been a lot of fun seeing everyone here at the pool,” said Stewart, who has already been accepted at six of the seven colleges in which she has applied. “It certainly beats staying at home and running in my backyard. I really like the in-person instruction I get from the coaches. In the 200 free this winter I want to get down around two minutes and then in the 500 I would like to get down to about six minutes.”
Even before the Patuxent swim team arrived for its evening practice at the Hall center, Calvert senior Ava Ward and Northern sophomore Rebecca Means were putting the finishing touches on their final 90 minutes in the water. Ward is eyeing the Air Force Academy for the fall of 2021, while Means still has several years to think about her collegiate academic endeavors.
“These practices have definitely been beneficial,” said Ward, who currently ranks number one in her senior class at Calvert with a 4.3 GPA and plays the violin for the school’s orchestra. “It’s been great to get back into the water. These practices have really helped me get faster and stronger and it’s fun seeing all of my teammates here.”
“It’s been fun seeing everyone here at the pool,” said Means, who is also a member of the school’s pom squad. “I’m hoping that we get to have virtual meets this winter. I always look forward to the competition.”