Swim Team Captains Create Positive Environment


Laura Domingue

The Lewis-Palmer High School Combined Swim Team celebrates all the seniors on the team on Senior Night before their meet against the Rampart Rams. “The biggest part about being a senior is that you absolutely get to create the culture of the team,” Billings said. “The other girls, they follow your lead. As seniors we are leaders.”

Riley Smith , Editor

The joint swim team between Lewis-Palmer and Palmer Ridge High Schools provides a fun, inclusive environment. The swim team captains ensure that everyone on the team feels welcome and included. All of the seniors on the team are captains. For the 2021-2022 season the captains are Lily Billings 12 and Olivia Torres 12. 

Both Bilings and Torres have been on the swim team since they were freshmen. However, Torres was unable to participate her junior year because she was quarantined during tryouts. 

“This is my third year on the team. I swam my freshman year, sophomore year, and my junior year I was quarantined during tryouts so Jackie, our coach, wouldn’t let me try out,” Torres said. “I went to the first day of tryouts and when I got quarantined she was like, ‘I’m sorry, you can’t try out.’”

As captains of the team, they have many responsibilities. One of which is to help the younger swimmers feel more comfortable and help to advocate for them. 

“We’re the first line of communication, so if the girls have a problem, they often aren’t comfortable taking it to the coach so they take it to us,” Billings said.

Torres and Billings are very heavily involved with the team. They do not help coach it so they make sure to encourage the girls while practicing with them.

“We’re there swimming with the girls and going through all the hard sets,” Torres said. “If they’re new to the team and they don’t really know how high school meets work because it’s a little different than club, we’ll help them.”

Billings and Torres learned heavily from past captains, they made improvements on the things they didn’t like, and kept around the things they did. One of the main things being the posterboard of goals, but many others were also integrated. 

“We have a poster where at the beginning of the season we list all of the goals that different girls had from previous years that they liked or just that we came up with, and then we have the fuzzy sock exchange, and we have a song that we play right before we arrive at away pools,” said Torres. 

While there are many highlights to being a team captains, there are also a few downsides. One of the major ones being trying to regulate the coach/swimmer relationships.

“Sometimes they haven’t swum in a long time and don’t understand the workouts they’re putting us through,” Billings said. “Or sometimes the coaches will have trouble communicating with underclassmen because there were all these expectations that have been set all the years before, so they’re assumed, but if you’re a freshman, it’s your first year, you have no idea this was an expectation. So it’s a part of our job to communicate that to the girls when Jackie forgets.”

Both Torres and Billings believe that the most important part of being a captain is ensuring that you’re taking care of the underclassmen on the team, and trying to make them feel as comfortable as possible. 

“I was a special little butterfly my freshman year. I was dramatic, I was cranky, I was tired and I cried all the time,” Billings said. “But the seniors, they were really patient with me. There was this senior, her name was Sophie, she would come over and give me a hug, and I would be crying in practice like ‘It’s okay you got this’ and she just took care of me and now I’m like ‘let me take care of you underclassmen.’”

“Reassurance is a big part of it because especially a lot of the underclassmen who don’t really know the coaches yet, they think they have to give 200% every single time, but everybody has off days,” Torres said. “I think just reassurance along with communication, it’s okay not to be perfect all the time.”