As we dive into winter sports, senior swimmers Laurel Yows and Molly Harmon are swimming towards their last season here at West.
Seniors are the top dogs, the leaders and the role models. In all activities and sports, the upperclassmen are typically viewed as the example that freshmen and sophomores look up to.
Swim coach of 39 years, Colleen Gibler, said she feels like Harmon and Yows fulfill this task.
“Seniors should set a tone for leadership and unity and be role models for respect and hard work. Molly and Laurel are both of those things,” Gibler said. “They lead and they strive to be their best and are always respectful.”
Yows said that she is really enjoying her senior year of swim thus far. “ It’s been different because everyone looks up to you and it’s fun being a role model.”
Another thing that Yows appreciates about her sport is the way her relationships with her teammates has grown throughout the years.
Swim is a challenging sport that takes grit and toughness. It is something that Yows feels has changed her as a person. “It has made me stronger physically and mentally,” Yows said. “Stick it out, it’s worth it in the end.”
After reflecting on her years on high school, Harmon said she notices how much swim has developed her as well.
“I have definitely changed and grown a lot since freshman year, not just my times in the water but the relationships I have made with the people who I train with and my mental attitude about facing the hardships that come with injury,” Harmon said.
Acting like a leader is not something that comes naturally to most. Harmon said she strives to be the best leader possible for her younger teammates.
“Being a team leader is something new for me this year, as there have been other leaders in the past who have taught me what a great leader looks like and what a great leader doesn’t look like,” Harmon said. “I absolutely love it! You can change your swim mates attitude in a blink of an eye with the help of some encouragement and love.”
After spectating leaders of the past, Harmon has found it helpful to be brutally honest with her team. “I will tell them it will hurt and it will suck but they will do this is set and they will be better because of it,” Harmon said. “I think they really like it because they attack this set with all they have and love the drive it brings them when they are more prepared for it.”
Harmon doesn’t limit her encouragement to just time spent in the pool. She said she feels like cheering up teammates outside of swim is just as important.
The west swim team has many practices throughout the week, including a.m. practices where they meet before school. Harmon said that waking up the early practices is surprisingly something that she will miss.
“I work my hardest when I have more silence around me and only the thing beating me in practice is myself. I like pushing the barrier and thenthe seeing what’s on the other side of it when I’m alone,” Harmon said.
Gibler said she has high hopes for Harmon and Yows as they pursue what may be their last year of swim. “I just want each girl to achieve more than they dreamed possible both in practice and competition,.” Gibler said. “If that leads to conference champs then that would be great but if not, we still would be a success.”