The newest addition to the MICDS girls swim team is a boy.
Coach Kristen Witzman gave birth to her first child. Bennett Evan Witzman was born at 3:31 p.m. last Tuesday.
“At that moment, the girls were getting warmed up to swim the meet,” said assistant coach Chris McCrary. “He was born a healthy 9 pounds, 5 ounces.
The girls went out and won the Metro League swim meet, snapping Westminster Christian Academy’s three-year hold on the championship.
“It’s one of those things that confirms the universe has a sense of humor,” McCrary said about the Rams winning on the day of the head coach giving birth. “I mean, what are the chances? Kristen wanted to make the meet so badly for the girls, and I think little Bennett got confused as to why the date was so important to her. He must have figured that was supposed to be his birthday. So the whole thing is crazy and special all at the same time.”
After the meet, the team sent a video message to Witzman’s phone. It even included singing.
“The girls were recording a message for Kristen holding up the trophy, telling her they’re happy for her and missed her, and I jokingly said they needed to sing “Happy Birthday” for Bennett,” McCrary said, “They went into their best rendition, and a parent recorded the team singing ‘Happy Birthday.’ “
McCrary said the league meet is the final competition before the state meet. So, it’s important for girls going to state to use it to get ready. For the other girls, the meet was their last of the season.
“Conference is kind of a bifurcated focus,” McCrary said. “For our state-bound athletes and relays, I was just looking for some confident swims with some fired-up emotion. I wanted to see near in-season best times and some fire in their bellies. For the non-state swimmers, this meet is their end-of-season championship meet. So we taper, shave, and give them the full swimming experience.”
Teams do different things in a swim season, said McCrary, who is the MICDS boys head swim coach as well as the coach of the Clayton-Shaw Park Tideriders. He wants his high school athletes to be at their best in February.
“There’s kind of a rhythm to a season. A lot of teams rest and rest and rest to keep seeing best times and win the silly midseason invites,” McCrary said. “I approach it so my girls rest and peak at the end of the season. There are different challenges with the different types of girls. With dedicated club swimmers, the motto is, ‘do no harm.’
“I want to send them back so they can do well at the bigger meets they have coming down the pipe. With my high-school-only athletes, the goal is to get them in good enough shape they can handle one true taper. I expected those athletes to peak and peak they did.”
In the Metro League meet, MICDS won all the swimming events. Only the diving crown eluded the Rams.
The Rams finished first with 559 points. Westminster wound up second with 473 points.
Freshman Abby Wickersham won the 50 in 24.21 seconds and the 100 free in 52.89.
“She broke the meet record in the 50 free,” McCrary said about Wickersham. “Both were un-rested best times for her and a great indication of how big she is going to swim at state. She swam great. She is swimming confident. The only thing I had to tell her was to lose one dolphin kick off her start in the 50 and get up swimming a little sooner.”
Wickersham is undefeated in the sprint races this season.
Freshman Anna Baur also won two events. She claimed the 200 IM relay in 2 minutes, 12.51 seconds and 100 breaststroke in 1:09.77.
“She was close (to a record) in the breaststroke. Both very solid swims,” McCrary said. “She led the whole time. She was getting down on herself about not getting the automatic cut in the 100 breast during the season. That swim at conference was a big confidence boost (for her) going into state. “
Senior Alex Fox also won two events. She took the 200 free in 2:00.34 and 500 free in 5:22.61.
“Both were great swims for Alex,” McCrary said. “We were aiming to get the 200 and 500 free automatic cuts by the end of season. She got them, with unrested best times in the last two meets. Unfortunately a timing system error at the last dual meet negated her automatic 500 cut, but she went even faster the following week at conference and got it again.”
Freshman Sophie Henriksen earned two victories. She won the 100 fly in 57.83 and the 100 back in 57.67.
“She broke both the 100 fly meet record and the 100 back meet record,” McCrary said. “Sophie has the gift. (She has) The underwater dolphin kicks that I would have killed for during my swimming career. We have been working on executing them better off her last wall. She really hammered that wall and both swims are really great for her going into state.”
All three relay teams won.
The 200 Medley relay team consisted of Henriksen, Madigan Kinsey, Elle Haines, and Athena Tharenos. Their winning time was 1:59.04.
The 200 free relay team was made up of Wickersham, Fox, Henriksen and Baur. Their time of 1:41.63 set a meet record.
The 400 free relay team had Wickersham, Fox, Kinsey and Baur swimming to a winning time of 3:50.22.
It was a great meet for the Rams, McCrary said.
“We won every event that started from the blocks instead of the diving board,” McCrary said. “The cap of the night was our breaststrokers going one, two, three, four and sweeping the medals as they only give medals to the top four places.”
The Rams were happy to win the meet, McCrary said.
“They were all fired up,” McCrary said. “For two-thirds of the team, that was the end-of-season championship, and they won it swimming at their best. So there was a lot of smiles and a lot of excitement.”