Bull-sharks dive into spring season competition


Bo Arlander

The Bull-sharks competed against Redwood and Archie Williams last Friday.

By Emmanuel Katz

Swim season kicked off with a splash as the Branson swim team began their competitions this March. Branson almost exclusively swims against teams in the highly competitive MCAL League. 

Although the Branson swim team isn’t the biggest in the world, it is mighty, fighting and beating out some schools almost ten times its size. 

“They [other teams] may outnumber us in people, but we outnumber them in spirit,” Nate Johnson, a freshman on the swim team, said.

Swimming was one of the sports greatly affected by the pandemic, but now there is a lot of excitement in the air as swimmers get back to a regular competition season. Many of Branson’s swimmers are excited to get back in the pool.

“[I] stopped swimming during COVID. … But over the past year, I’ve been getting back to swimming. … I haven’t done any [high school] competitions, so I’m looking forward to that,”  Johnson said. 

While some swimmers have taken a hiatus for a longer time, they are ready to dive back into the sport more than ever.

They [other teams] may outnumber us in people, but we outnumber them in spirit

— Nate Johnson

“I’m excited because I haven’t gone to a meet in five years — actually, more like seven years,” Tara Sridharan, a sophomore, said. “I’m excited to see what the hype is about.” 

With many different events to swim, there is a lot to look forward to for these athletes. In high school swim competitions, the races are done in a 25-yard pool. The individual events include 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke.

“I’m [swimming] the 50 free and the 200 relay if it’s available …, maybe the 100 breaststroke too,” Sridharan said. 

Many swimmers like racing the shorter events that require sprinting rather than long-distance racing.

“I’m swimming the shortest event, the 50-yard free,” Johnson said. “It’s pretty much an all-out sprint across the pool and back. … I’m also doing the 100 backstroke, which is four laps and 100 yards.”

There are also relay events that involve four people, including the 200 medley relay, the 200 free relay and the 400 freestyle relay. 

“Relays are really fun, and they [are] a large aspect of meets. … It’s the team aspect of swimming because swimming is, of course, an individual sport. But doing a relay is like a team effort, and it’s really fun to do. You can really encourage your teammates by swimming with them, and everyone has their own job that they do,” Johnson said. 

Johnson went on to add that he hopes the team can get one more boy to swim as that way they will have enough male swimmers to field an entire boys relay. 

But how did this hype and excitement translate to the lanes? 

Last week, the Bull-Sharks’ first home meet faced off against nearby high school Marin Catholic.  

For the boys, sophomore Cameron Aryanpour won the 50 free, with a time of 23.52 seconds. Freshman Rodrigo Diaz got fourth, and Johnson got fifth. Aryanpour also won the 100 butterfly, with a time of 58.77 seconds. Diaz won the 100 free, with a time of 57.42, and Johnson won the 100 backstroke, with a time of 1:04.68.

For the girls, freshman McKenzie Kwei placed second in the 50 free, and senior Reese Dahlgren took fifth. Kwei also received third in the 200 freestyle, with sophomore Maeve McAuley receiving fifth. McAuley took third in 200 Individual Medley, and, according to the Branson website, improved her time by 3.5 seconds. 

Freshman Mirabel Arlander was third in 100 Breaststroke, 1.5 seconds faster than her previous meet, and freshman Sadhbh Kilroy placed fifth. Kilroy was also fourth in the 100 freestyle. As far as relays go, the Bull-Sharks fielded two girls relay teams: one 200 medley relay, which scored second, and a 200 free relay that took third. 

“[The races are] really competitive, [but] you have everyone cheering you on,” Sridharan said.