Ending the Season with a Splash
By Savannah Graziano
More than the end of a season, City Championships are a chance to prove growth and improvement throughout the year. Northside’s Men’s Swimming and Diving team earned a solid fourth place in CPS on Feb. 3, competing against more than 30 other high schools. This success marks the culmination of a rough year for the team, which lost a handful of its core swimmers after their graduation last year. The team persisted through this loss to become stronger from it, building a new core of talented swimmers who were motivated to help the team live up to its previous reputation as a powerhouse. Captain Lukas Hoffman, Adv. 906, said that “a lot of the guys did great. People went their fastest times and I’d say we were successful as a team.”
Individually, the team had a great showing. Kyle Hathaway, Adv. 003 won the 100 breaststroke and placed third in the 200 individual medley. Hoffman took home two second place finishes in both the 200 free and in the 500 free. Captain Ian Shimandle, Adv. 901, got ninth in the 100 free and fourteenth in the 50 free while Daniel Claud, Adv. 911, and Taber Skiba, Adv. 902, earned eleventh in the 200 and 500 free respectively. Marcus Tschoe, Adv. 006, placed eleventh in the 100 back. Osita Achufusi, Adv. 102, got ninth in the 50 free and seventh in the 100 free. Rocco Cappelletti, Adv. 206, placed fourth in the 100 fly and sixth in the 100 back.
The team works very well together; Cappelletti said that “Even though Northside has a really small team, I feel like we benefit from it because we’re able to stay together as that team. Like when we were at City Championships you could always expect at least one person standing at your lane cheering for you. One thing I love is that no one talks about times because it’s never been about how fast of slow someone is, it’s always been us being able to swim together as a team.”
Proving this cohesion, the team’s relays did just as well as the individual events. The 200 free relay of Hathaway, Shimandle, Achufusi, and Cappelletti placed third, barely getting out touched by the Lane Tech team, and the 400 free relay of Claude, Payton Kane, Adv. 005, Shimandle and Hoffman placed seventh. Additionally, the 200 medley relay of Hoffman, Hathaway, Cappelletti, and Achufusi took fourth.
Shimandle was excited about the team’s showing, saying “Taking second at city relays was probably one of the highlights of the season.” His teammate Luis Acosta, Adv. 900, was slightly more modest, mentioning that they didn’t perform to the expectations set by previous years but “City still went well.”
Looking forward, the team hopes to continue to improve. Shimandle said that “even though it was tough competing without much of the core of the team from last year we still had a great time during the whole season.” As the team faces the graduation of more seniors, he feels confident that the team will continue to prosper next season just as they did this year. “It was exciting to see some of the new swimmers, and to try to see how next year’s season is going to shake out.”
The team encourages everyone who is interested to join next year. Acosta said, “Swimming is special because anyone can join and have a good experience. The swim season was fun and everyone on the team is cool and we had fun at away meets at different schools.” He remembers the time two kids jumped into the same lane during a swim meet. Despite a rough start to the season, the team’s success at City brings more hope for next year’s season.