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  • Ingrid Nilsson

ACAD Swim Team Dives into New Season

Long before the sun rises, long before most alarm clocks have sounded, a small group of dedicated Athens Academy athletes dive into the cold water of the Georgia Aquatics Center. While these challenging practices are not for the faint of heart, they are necessary to prepare for upcoming meets.

“(The schedule) changes every week,” said Daniel Huang ‘22, a leading member of the Athens Academy swim team. During swim season, however, being a member of the team requires a significant time commitment. Usually, they practice three mornings per week, as well as four evenings.

This dedication paid off in the first swim meet of the season, which took place Saturday, December 12. The Athens Academy boys varsity team won both the 200-yard free relay, and the 200-yard medley relay with times of 1:35.86 and 1:46.28.

In addition to this, many Athens Academy swimmers placed independently at the meet. Several athletes, including seniors Eli Condie and Ava Kennedy, took home impressive wins. Five Athens Academy swimmers overall qualified for the state meet: Ava Kennedy, Garrett Kennedy, Eli Condie, Will Hines, and Daniel Huang.

Photo of Will Hines (class of 2023) at the 12.12.20 Swim Meet. Photo by Tracey Hill.

The Athens Academy swim team consists of two different groups: club and non-club. While club swimmers practice daily with groups from all over the Athens area, the non-club team swims exclusively through the school. This year, new coaches Tracey Hill and Umesh Patel have taken the position of leading the non-club swimmers.

“Coach Tracey coaches in the pool, and Coach Patel coaches dry land, outside-of-the-pool workouts. The coaching style is way different than last year, but it is still good, and we’re getting to know the coaches well,” said Kathryn Nichols ‘22, a leading member of the non-club team.

Club swimmers practice with different clubs around the Athens area. Huang, a member of the Athens Bulldog Swim Club, is coached mainly by Coach Harvey Humphries, who used to coach for UGA. Ava Kennedy also swims on ABSC, and she has recently signed to swim for UGA.

While their practices differ, both groups thoroughly enjoy their time in the water.

“It’s very calming to be in the pool,” said Nichols.

Seconding this thought, Huang said, “I really enjoy being in the water, (and) I’m really taking it as part of my lifestyle now.”

In addition to this, the swim team provides lifelong friendships.

“Last year, there was a senior on the Team, Anjali, who I still keep in touch with even after she graduated,” said Nichols. “If you spend twelve hours with someone at a meet, you can’t help but get close to them.”