Battlefield Girls and Patriot Boys Swim Teams Set High Expectations for States | Prince William

Although the Patriot boys’ and Battlefield girls’ swim teams have faced similar pandemic-related adversities this season, the impressive depth both schools possess has been on display throughout the season.

It’s the depth that has everyone on the precipice of a likely high finish in the team standings at the Class 6 State Championships on Friday at the Jeff Rouse Aquatic Center in Stafford.

Each team put in impressive performances at regionals and both coaches had the luxury of being able to use different relay swimmers or put individuals in “out-of-competition events” to allow different swimmers to score qualifying times, since the leading swimmers in each relay had already scored state cups. . Patriots coach Lisa Bussian and Battlefield coach Jay Thorpe said it was a nice luxury to have.

Patriot’s main competition for a state title is expected to come from perennial powerhouse Ocean Lakes, with Oakton and Yorktown likely to be in contention as well.

“We should make our team progress from certain places [from past seasons] because we have good relays,” Bussian said, citing the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay as the ones to pay special attention to.

Meanwhile, Battlefield’s star shone brightly for a while, with the women’s team finishing second in the state a season ago. Thorpe said the result has been a renewed attitude, hunger and determination to take care of business. It’s this team-oriented, business-driven approach that has the Bobcats on the hunt for the state title that eluded them last season.

“We’ve watched this since before [most of the team’s top swimmers] came to Battlefield,” said Thorpe, who coached most of the top swimmers in the Piedmont Swim Club youth program for many years before swimming in high school.

“The depth of our stints – with four outstanding swimmers – puts us in a good position and we like our depth,” Thorpe said. “But when I look at the results of [Class 6 Region A]although we have good experienced swimmers in the water for us, some perennial powerhouses like Oakton and Yorktown, James Madison and Robinson will do [the team race] very competitive.”

Thorpe said that in a season where 75% of the team had contracted COVID-19 at one time or another, it was a challenge to manage the workload, but it may have allowed others to step up and improve team depth accordingly.

“It was definitely a challenge to say, ‘You’ve been with someone who’s had it, so you’re missing x days. Or you got it so you miss x-number more days, but the girls always thought the team was more important than any individual presentation. They definitely have a global mindset.

For his part, Bussian said the same about Peter Gilbert, not only one of the team’s key leaders, but a vital member of the 200m medley relay team, among others.

“It’s just a joy to have him on our team because he will swim even if necessary for the good of the team,” Bussian said.

Bussian said that while Gilbert has been a fixture in the 200 medley relay for much of the season, he was ready to swim the 200 freestyle at regionals, while swimming the grueling 500 freestyle. He won both events at regionals (tied for first place in the 200m), but once again gave up his place on the medley relay team at regionals to complete the dynamic double.

Joshua Hochard, who won two individual events (the freestyle sprints) and was part of two winning relays, the 200m medley and the 200-yard freestyle relay, also stood out all season and at regionals.

“Before this season, I would have thought his best shot was his backstroke,” Bussian said. “But this year he really shone in the freestyle events. His speed kept growing and building throughout the season. There are really two ways to use it depending on the need [backstroke and freestyle].”

Patriot’s last senior player was Landon Gentry, who is an exceptional diver in addition to his swimming skills.

“Team members just gravitate towards him, especially from the diving board,” Bussian said. He is a serious competitor who stays humble and recognizes when he makes a mistake.

Thorpe said while swimmers like Tennessee-engaged Camille Spink and James Madison signee Jamie Cornwell have been superstars for years, the development of swimmers like William Signer Lexi Sawwa, Sarah Golsen and Sophia Heilen and Mary, has been a boon to the program.

“I hadn’t trained Sophia when she was young, and it would have been easy for her to be upstaged by Camille or Jamie, but she swam so well she would have been a superstar on any [youth] team and she did a great job,” Thorpe said.

Like Bussian, Thorpe has the luxury of having talented swimmers who are also very humble and embrace the team dynamic.

“Everyone understands the team concept,” Thorpe said. “The Battlefield tradition, the Battlefield name, it means something to them and they are very proud to represent it. Our sporting director, our principal and all the fans were also very supportive which really helped.

Bussian said Patriot’s tradition of success, especially on the boys’ side, might have been a source of pressure in previous years, but she doesn’t think that’s the case with this team.

“I think me and the kids felt that kind of pressure a few years ago, but this year’s team has more confidence and excitement,” Bussian said. “They just focus on what they know they have to do. They feel confident, but determined.

Comments are closed.