The Holton-Arms swim team members linked arms by the side of the pool as they awaited the Independent School League championship meet results.
As the announcer declared the Panthers the winners with a score of 352, the girls jumped into their Bethesda pool to celebrate. The swimmers splashed around and shouted the school fight song.
It’s a familiar scene for Holton-Arms, which won its third straight ISL title.
“We were worried at first because we lost some good seniors last year, but every year the dynamic is different,” senior Olivia Jubin said. “But our coach, Graham [Westerberg], emphasizes that instead of doing the race for yourself, you’re doing it for your team.”
In addition to capturing their fifth team title in six years, the Panthers set an ISL record in the 200-yard medley relay. Jing-E Tan, Rachel Blackwell, Jillian Johnson and Tatum Zupnik finished in 1:46.52, beating the previous record by 0.61 seconds.
Though Westerberg said he does not put much stock into records, he said he took pride in the depth of his team.
“We’ve been very proud of our work ethic so far this year,” Westerberg said. “Our girls always get motivated for this meet, and usually our team thrives seeing [teammates] before them swim well.”
Stone Ridge, which finished second with a score of 244.5, won the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:27.89, nearly two seconds faster than the previous league record.
Stone Ridge and Holton-Arms were neck and neck through the third leg, and anchor Phoebe Bacon gave the Gators the edge in the final leg.
Jubin, who anchored Holton-Arms in the 400, admitted she felt nerves swimming beside a competitor of Bacon’s caliber. Bacon, a junior, recently competed in the USA Swimming Winter Nationals, earning four 2020 Olympic Trial cuts.
Bacon also won the 100 butterfly — finishing in 53.60, more than three seconds ahead of the field — as well as the 100 backstroke (54.04).