On Wednesday, December 9th, the Girls Varsity Swimming Team opened their 2020-2021 season. The Bears dove into a season which promises to be unlike any in team history, when they traveled down Royalton Road to challenge the perennially strong Mustangs from Strongsville. The Mustangs’ depth was on full display as they swept both ends of the dual meet, winning the girls’ contest 196-86 while the boys posted an equally impressive 194-94 victory.
Despite the final score, Coach Mike Milliken was pleased with what he saw from the girl’s team; “I was impressed, having so many freshman and new swimmers,” said the 7th year Head Coach of the Bears. “They performed well and exceeded my expectations.” Senior Mariam Zayour had a strong start to her final season, with a dominating victory in the 200 Individual Medley and followed that up with an equally strong performance in the 500 Freestyle, besting the field by nearly 20 seconds. Freshman Hope Campbell offered a glimpse into the Bears’ future with some nice freestyle swims, individually and as part of two relays.
Senior Luca Aldewereld proved that making the 2019 State Championship Meet was not a fluke, as he topped a loaded field in the 50 Freestyle going under 22 seconds (21.92) right out of the gate for the Bears’ lone first place finish. Freshman Liviu Marina dropped more than 20 seconds off his previous personal best in the 500 Freestyle, and could be a factor for the Bears as the season progresses.
With several State and District qualifiers on the roster, Coach Milliken knows what the boys are capable of, and hopes that the experience of competing against a talented Strongsville team serves as fuel for their internal fire. “The boys have a lot of work to do. The meet was an eye opener for them. [Strongsville] has obviously been working very hard since last season, and it showed.” While the results were disappointing, anyone who has followed the North Royalton program knows not to judge the swimmers by how they start as Coach Milliken and his staff are as good as there is at training their athletes to peak at the right time, and he expects the team to bounce back in a big way. “I am sure the results of tonight’s meet will serve as motivation for the [swimmers] going forward.”
Good luck to the swimmers for a healthy and successful 2020-21 season…and GO BEARS!