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Espada y Escudo

Espada y Escudo

The Student News Site of Vel Phillips Memorial

Interview with Maya Stegner, Senior Swim Captain!

Interview with Maya Stegner, Senior Swim Captain!

Meet Maya Stegner, one of Vel Phillips Memorial’s girls’ swim team captains! Maya has been on the swim team since her freshman year and has been devoted to the sport, even competing at state last year.

 

How far along in the swim season are you?

 

We’re about two-thirds of the way in, maybe like four-fifths. The swim season goes from the second week of August until the second week of November, for people who make it to state.

 

How are state competitors chosen?

 

Basically, sectional throughout the state automatically qualifies their first-place winner for each event. After that, the top 20-ish times throughout the whole state go through. The same goes for relays.

 

What’s been your favorite swim meet this season? Why?

 

Definitely the homecoming swim meet against West. We had a little bit of a better chance at beating West this year, we were closer in size and skill, even though we didn’t end up winning.

 

What about some of your favorite memories so far this season, in general?

 

There are so many! I love the tradition that we do in the shower every first and last home meet. It’s super fun to teach the freshmen how to do it and see everyone’s reaction. Basically, it’s just like screaming in the showers. We say a chant and drink from the holy shower, and then we come out completely silent like nothing happened. It’s really emotional the last time we do it. 

 

Another memory is going to Denny’s together on the last day of tryouts. It just so happened that a bunch of the football guys were there too and we shared the big two tables in the back with them and watched them inhale their food. It was more fun when they left, though.

 

I also love getting ready for school together after morning practices, it’s like a little tradition, too. The freshmen had so much fun with it this year they decided to come to the optional Friday practices just so they could get ready together. They even got their parents to drive them when the upperclassmen didn’t want to go.

 

What are some of your personal accomplishments this season?

 

I’ve gotten my best dual meet times for my best events, and that makes me feel like I’ll get my best times overall at the end of the season. I finally beat my sophomore time in the 200, and my 500 has really been improving this season. It makes me feel really accomplished when I can beat my own times.

 

How do you feel about the general representation of Memorial’s swim team? 

 

I feel like it used to be much more represented, like when my mom went to school here. Swimming has won a lot of state championships and second-place awards, girls and guys. Honestly, I think the combined number of state championship and second-place awards for girls and guys has been over 60 since 1970, which I’m not 100% sure, but it could be more than any other team. The pool is a little secluded, like we had seniors coming to our meets and they had no clue where it was. It’s so blocked off and has no windows, and unless you swim or have a class in there, you don’t know where the pool is. Also, the only people who really come to meets are the boys’ swim team and parents. Sometimes friends come in to support, but really parents take up most of the bleachers.

 

How do you think we could increase representation and general knowledge of the swim team?

 

I think just advertising the meets, swim and dive. A lot of people don’t know know dive doesn’t even take place at Memorial. They practice and have meets at West, Middleton, and Verona. Also, more signs showing where the pool is would help people know we actually have a pool. Spartan News could announce meets that are close, like ones at Middleton, Verona, etc., not just the ones at Memorial. Also, more representation on VPM sports themes would be good, even simple things like knowing how long our season is. I wish more people would know.

 

What inspires and motivates you?

 

Honestly, my coaches and my team. A lot really comes from my coaches. We do shoutouts at every meet where we pick a girl who was the ‘highlight’ of a specific event there. It’s really motivational to hear stuff like that and see others acknowledge your hard work. Especially for things like the 500, which is kind of a boring event because it’s so long. Beating my own times, not just other swimmers I’m going against, really motivates me. And getting through the season, it’s so long. Three more weeks, we can do this!

 

What’s the best aspect of the swim team?

 

We’ve become like a family. Swim sisters get each other gifts, and we all cheer each other on. Having to get up at five in the morning and jumping into a cold pool really connects us. We’re all going through hard times, and it makes us feel better knowing every one of us is. That’s a motivator too, knowing you’re not alone in what you’re doing.

 

If we want more info, what can we do?

 

Follow @women_of_the_water1738 on Instagram!! We update before meets.

 

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About the Contributor
Monika Jeraj, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Monika Jeraj is a senior and one of the Arts & Entertainment editors for this year. She has been a part of Sword & Shield since junior year and enjoys writing entertaining articles about various topics. Outside of school, she loves to be outdoors, read, play music, and spend time with friends and family.
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