Swim team heads to season-ending meet in Shanghai

Leading swimmer T. Hampel ('21) and teammates prepared for the tough competition their team will face at this weekend's meet in China.

Photographer: Lojain B.

Leading swimmer T. Hampel ('21) and teammates prepared for the tough competition their team will face at this weekend's meet in China.

Lojain B., Reporter

ASD’s swim team is soon travelling farther than normal for their season-ending swim competition. This year, the ASD Swim Dragons are heading to Shanghai, China, for the Shanghai American School Swim Invitational.

Unlike the ASD swimmers’ final competitions before, this one will not be a MESAC competition. Due to the ongoing political blockade against Qatar, student-athletes from Doha are unable to travel to the regularly scheduled venue. This year’s MESAC swim meet is being hosted by ACS Abu Dhabi.

Team captain W. Waddell (’20) praised this year’s team’s “devotion to swimming” and their “grit,” but he admitted concern about the long flight. His “greatest worry,” he said, “is the excessive amount of time we’re going to be spending on a plane. Spending upwards of seven hours on a plane before the meet is a bit scary.”

The ASD Swim Dragons left early Wednesday morning to make the long trip to Shanghai.  Photographer: Lisa Barnes.

As for their competitive chances, the captains expressed their belief that their swim team is strong and will compete very well. Waddell stated that he’s “proud of the growth of the new/younger swimmers,” mentioning that several of the 8th grade athletes had to sacrifice their Week Without Walls trip for this.

K. Kofoed (’20), another captain, said that this season, the ASD’s swim team only participated in two competitions, one intrasquad meet and the other against different schools in Doha, but that they’ve done well so far for this season. She said the team was going into the meet a bit “blind” because of being unfamiliar with many of the teams competing there. However, she and Waddell both predicted strong performances by Dragon swimmers.

Several ASD swimmers broke records this year. The 4 x 25-meter men’s free relay record was broken by the team of Waddell, M. Girard (’21) , T. Hampel (’21),  and D. Unger (’20). The 50-meter breast stroke record fell to Unger as well, and sophomore L. Cooreman broke several individual records, including the 100-meter backstroke and the freestyle event.

Kofoed and Waddell expressed excitement about not just the upcoming meet in Shanghai, but also the opportunity for a reunion with their former head coach, Kari Beck, whose new team from Nanjing, China, was expected to be competing at the same competition.

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