Pirate Swimmer Hopeful To Return Before GACs

Swim team must endure most of the season without leading point scorer


Reid Bayliss

Sophomore Autumn Looney uses the elevator at SCHS to get to her lunch between passing periods.

by Reid Bayliss, Staff Writer

Sophomore swimmer Autumn Looney qualified for State very early in her freshman campaign last year and competed in the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter freestyle. But before she started her second year of swimming, she decided to join the cross country team as a way to stay fit before swim season, but her season was cut short due to a labrum tear she suffered in her hip. This required her to get surgery and not only cut her fall sport season short, but would keep her out of the pool for a majority of the winter.

“The minimum is four months,” Looney said. “I’ve had to take it easy until it heals itself.”

The swim team including Head Coach Martha Flentge is hopeful for their top swimmer to return before the season ends, but the team is prepared to do the best they can while Looney is out.

“She is way ahead of progress,” Flentge said.

Looney thinks she can make a return to the team by the time their conference meet starts up later in the season. Swimmers can qualify to State by swimming a specific time in any official meet, not by a swimming in districts like other sports. But until then, her team will do its best to try to emulate the success she had her freshman year.

“The biggest thing [for us] is supporting each other and not winning meets,” junior Gloria Farmer said. “Coach always says ‘progress, not perfection.’”

Farmer’s twin sister Grace, who’s also on the team, believes the atmosphere will still be the same as the year prior. The Farmers had much improved times from their freshman to sophomore seasons, which could be a high note for the team. Many of the swimmers also have faith that junior Hannah Doss and senior Michaela McCoy can also make up Looney’s injury.

“[Doss] was super close to going to State last year in her 50-meter freestyle,” Looney said.

McCoy recently joined a new club and is hopeful to make her final swim season at High her best.

“[We’re] training a heck of a lot harder with the gap she left us to fill,” McCoy said.

Although practice is in its early stages, the team still feels the same without their leading point scorer in the pool. Looney has been on the sidelines carrying equipment, and encouraging her fellow swimmers as they try to make up for what she brought to the team before their first meet. But for her possible return, Looney can only be patient and keep making progress during physical therapy.

“We’re looking forward to having her back, but just having her on deck is a really good morale booster for all of them,” Flentge said.

“Hopefully I’ll be back for GACs and possibly go to State,” Looney said.