Diving into state

Junior Eden Viles prepares for state alongside the girls’ 200-yard relay team

Katie Bullock, Editor-in-chief

For the first time since 2015, girls’ swim and dive athletes are preparing for the state competition.

First year swimmer and diver, junior Eden Viles is currently seated fourth in the state for dive. Viles, who was previously a gymnast, transferred to Winnetonka at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year from Northland Christian Academy.

“I did this to stay in shape. I didn’t think I’d be good at it, Viles said. “The meet I qualified [for state] was actually the first meet that we had: the Winnetonka Invitational. My step-dad was like, ‘Well you better qualify for state or you’re not coming home,’ and then I got consideration.”

As a member of both the swim team and the dive team, an associate of the Northland Career Center, as well as being involved in National Honor Society and the softball team, Viles’s schedules can sometimes conflict.

“It’s a lot of time management and I’m busy a lot but I enjoy it,” Viles said. “Sometimes it gets a little stressful but then again I’ve always been busy so I’m able to juggle it.”

Despite a busy schedule, Viles said that she feels grateful for the opportunities that she has been given.

“It honestly amazes me. I’m a Christian and I believe that God has given me this ability to be good at dive and swim and gymnastics and generally at everything that I do,” Viles said. “I’m not trying to be cocky but I have a 4.0 and I have good grades and it’s just amazing that I would be able to come into a new school not knowing anybody and be good at this.”

Viles is also on the 4×200-yard free relay, which alternates between seniors Anna Braman and Kaitlyn Presko, and juniors Makayla Cambiano and Carli Crum. After swimming a time of 2:02:00 on Dec. 9 at the Winnetonka Invitational they obtained a state consideration cut.

“Right now with freestyle, even though it’s a relay, we’re really focusing on our individual strokes and trying to get better,” Presko said. “We’re tapering, which is a lot more rigorous sprinting but with lots of rest so it’s breaking down the muscles and then building them back up which helps us get faster while helping us get the strokes down. We’re shaving off milliseconds but those milliseconds count.”

The state consideration cut for an individual 50-yard freestyle is 28:49, 00:83 seconds off of Presko’s personal best of 29:32. As a team, the relay is 0:03:99 under the state consideration time of 2:05.99. However, only the top 32 teams attend state and currently the relay is ranked 40, four seconds behind the 32 place team’s time.

““It’s possible but they all have to be clicking, they all have to be in sync,” girls’ head swim Luke Young said. “Their relay exchanges have to be flawless so that’s what we’ll be working on this week.”

“With 50 free, taking one breath can change your time,” Presko said. “I mean, just breathing can hurt you, so you have to think about it every time. It’s all of the little things that will make or break your time. Did you jump off the block too late? Did you flip too early? Should you have taken that breath? During the race you can’t exactly think about it, you just have to get in and swim.”

In the third month of the swim season, fractions of seconds are becoming more difficult to shave off according to Presko.

“It can be heartbreaking sometimes when you feel like you put in so much work and then you look up at the time and you gained a half second. I know it doesn’t sound like much but it makes a difference,” Presko said. “But then, when you drop time, even if it’s just fractions of a second, it’s very accomplishing.”

The last time a student from the girl’s swim team made a state cut was in 2015, but this year, Presko, Viles and the rest of the relay time have a clear shot at making it past conference. And for Braman and Presko, this shot will be their last.

“I’ll be pretty dang happy if we make it to state,” Presko said. “I mean the last time anyone from Winnetonka girls’ swim team has gone to state was my freshman year with a relay team, and now I’m a senior. I’ve always kind of wanted to go to state and this may be our chance to do it.”