The champion’s mindset

DM girl’s swim captures state title

STATE CHAMPS:--The 2020 state champion DM Girls Swim Team.

Courtesy of Shelby Butler

STATE CHAMPS:–The 2020 state champion DM Girls Swim Team.

Katie Hofmann, Sports editor

Eat. Swim. Sleep. Repeat

“When nothing is sure,” says English novelist Margaret Drabble, “anything is possible.”

This year has been a fairly strange year for everyone, yet to DM athletes, the vital “vibe” during their season seemed all but lost. 

From having to adjust practices, cancelling special games and events, and seeing fellow family and teammates fall ill, this season could have been forgettable. But DM’s girls swim team has definitely made it one for the books–and one to remember.

The sophomore story

“Our main goal was just to have some fun, since we hadn’t seen one another in so long,” says sophomore Shelby Butler, who “it was almost necessary for practices to have some extra excitement in them”. 

The ongoing disappointment that students are having to face every day has become, as many like to say nowadays, “the new normal”. For multiple athletes, sports are the only escape from this new reality that the world has to face. That the swim team was still able to have practices this season was nothing short of a miracle. But nothing comes without adjustments.

“Because of social distancing,” said Butler, “we had to split from the boys group, which was a big part of our team.”

The need for unity

“The team dynamic seemed united,” said junior Megan Dick, “even though we were apart we were still a team.” In these outrages times, a little togetherness can go a very long way. 

“Even though we were physically apart,” says Dick, “we were still together as a team and supported each other.”

“Our goals were not huge for this season because of all the setbacks, but we were shocked when we ended up doing so well at the end of our season.” 

Even in the face of uncertainty, our greatest goals can be accomplished.  

The team dynamic seemed united, even though we were apart we were still a team.

— Megan Dick

‘Trust the process’

“Remaining positive is what kept the team together,” said Coach Strimple, who led the girls and boys swim teams at DM. She lauded the players’ tenacity, and discussed the difference between a winner and a loser. 

“Our primary goal,” says Strimple, “was just to keep practices going. When meets came up, getting to the meets without them getting cancelled was our biggest hope.” 

The state championship?  “As states came up,” Strimple said, “we held our breath and we wanted everyone to remain healthy.” 

There is a stark difference between a loser and a winner, and it’s not always the physical aspect.

“I told the girls to trust the process,” said Coach Strimple, “I wanted them to trust themselves as much as I trusted them and their abilities.”

“It’s a mindset.”

Athletes, regardless of the sport, can only control their own attitudes and actions.

“But you can’t control others,” Strimple said, “yet one person’s actions can affect the group as a whole.”

Having a positive attitude and mindset in sports is vital; words and actions can change the way the whole team performs. 

“When you walk in and say, ‘I can do this’, or ‘we’ve got this,’” Strimple says, “those words carry a different energy and you see the athletes change for the better.”