Shadow Ridge’s Senior Swimmers


Courtesy of: Mikaela Berg

The seniors of the Shadow Ridge Swim team

Marley Martinez, Mustangs Editor

As the Shadow Ridge swim season comes to an end, the freshman, sophomores, and juniors of the team are eagerly awaiting the next season. The seniors however are looking back and saying goodbye to a team they’ve been on for 4 years and for some a team they only got to be on for 1 season. 

In any sport, the team’s seniors play a vital role in leading the team and guiding the newer swimmers. Underclassmen look up to the seniors for guidance and advice and the seniors do their best to make the season as great as possible.

Junior Izzy Nebeker stated, “[The seniors] pushed me to do my best and have not only taught me more about swimming but taught me that leadership and friendship are essential for a team to become successful.”

Most of the seniors on Shadow’s team started off swimming freshman year and have swam all 4 years of their high school career (with the exception of their sophomore season that only had 1 meet due to Covid). Many of the swimmers had previous experience in swimming and wanted to join the team to be a part of something during high school and make connections.

Seniors Mikaela Berg and Jada Johnston (Courtesy of: Mikaela Berg)

“I first started swimming when I was young, but I didn’t start swimming competitively until freshman year. I’ve been swimming for about 3 years competitively due to Covid. I joined the Shadow team my freshman year and have been doing it until my senior year. I decided to do swim because I was in Coach Hillmer’s art class. He was talking about swim clinic starting, and though it would be something active and a good way to make friends,” explains senior Mikaela Berg. 

Once the season started, swimmers spent nearly every day together with practices Monday- Friday and meets on Saturdays. Being together so much, the swimmers really got to know each other. Even though swimming is mainly an individual sport, having a cohesive team that gets along and encourages one another is extremely important. 

Senior captain Lucas Ludwig states, “I wanted to do swimming because the swim team is actually a community. Everyone is everyone’s friend and we all support each other.”

One of the things that lead to swimmers creating such close bonds is the weekly swim dinners that are held Friday night before each meet. Every swim dinner is hosted by a different swimmer’s family where all of the swimmers are able to hang out, carb up, and relief some stress before a meet. For many swimmers, this is one of their favorite parts of swim. Freshman Kendra Chapman recalls at one swim dinner she and Luke Ludwig had a dance-off to Sunset Driver by Michale Jackon on a Wii game. Berg also states that swim dinners were some of the best times she’s had with the team and one of the many memories that will stick with her.

“My favorite memory from this season is the swim dinners. Honestly, they are all so much fun in different ways. Just being with the team, and the friendships we all have together are memories I will always remember,” says Berg.

Shadow Ridge has an incredibly impressive swim team with insanely talented swimmers. Each week swimmers compete to improve their previous times and race against other teams. The hope of all of these swimmers is to get good enough times to compete at regionals. One swimmer who made it to regionals was senior Joshua Prall. Prall had one of the most intense races of the season during the 100-yard freestyle at regionals.

Prall says, “My favorite memory was at regionals when me and someone from Green Valley had to do a swim off because we tied and the whole team was behind cheering for me.”

Seniors Lucas Ludwig, Mikeala Berg, Arthur Anderson, and Marley Martinez (Courtesy of: Marley Martinez)

Ludwig also relates regionals as his favorite memory saying, “My best memory was just at this last regional meet, I hit my best times but even better one of our swimmers was in a swim-off and I got to see the entire team together screaming their heads off for one person.”

The senior swimmers of Shadow Ridge will soon be moving on to college and careers and starting their new lives outside of high school, but they will be bringing with them the memories made during their time on the team as well as the friendships they formed. Berg has learned a lot from her time on the swim team and will carry those lessons with her. 

“Somethings I have learned from my time on the team is self-motivation and accepting you aren’t always going to get the times you want. When swimming you are the only one who can motivate yourself to do better, but even still, no matter how hard you work you are going to have off days, and bad races, It’s being able to accept disappointment that you are able to improve. The most challenging thing about swimming is pushing yourself when you are tired. When you feel like giving up, is the time when you need to keep pushing yourself. It’s hard to keep going when you are exhausted, but you get so much better from it,” explains Berg.

There are a lot of things that seniors will miss about the team senior Jada Johnston tells. It was Johnston’s first year swimming with the team but even though she started out a little late she was able to make a lot of friendships. 

“I’m going to miss the sense of community a lot and being around other people who live the sport. I’ll also miss practicing since I don’t have the willpower to workout on my own,” Johnston states.

Underclassmen will miss the seniors heavily as they graduate and move on in life. Freshman Kendra Chapman and junior Izzy Nebeker wish all of the seniors well in life and wish to thank them for all of the help they provided this season. 

Chapman says, “I want them to know that they truly helped me and made me and many others become not just a team but a family, and we will cheer them on through everything.”

Nebeker says to the seniors, “I would like to tell all the seniors that as they move on in life, don’t give up. Life may be hard, just like those long, cold, practices, but I know you all can and will become successful in life! I cant wait to see what life brings you all! We love and will miss you guys!”