November 17, 2017 came around, and the entire swim team, our parents, and coaches struggled to sleep after the high of the day that had just passed by. The girls had one of our best state preliminary swims in history. For the first time, we were finally in reaching distance of beating our all time rivals, Saint Joseph’s Academy, going into finals the next day. We had multiple first place finishes that had us excited beyond all expectations for the next day, and we spent the night thinking about how amazing it would be to come home with another state championship trophy for our school.
The next morning, we were all awake befor our alarms even went off, hearts beating with excitement for the races that were in our near future. We screamed at the top of our lungs to our pump up playlist the entire way to the pool as we tried to stay calm going into one of the most nerve racking competitions of our lives. As we walked into the natatorium, the chlorine permeated through the air and the smell brought smiles to our faces because we knew that it was now or never. After warm ups, we all went to the locker rooms and fought with our tech-suits to get them onto our bodies. It took some bloody fingers, sweaty bodies, and a few tears to get them on, but we knew the pain of putting on our suits would be worth it if we could finally beat the five time champions, St. Joseph’s Academy Angels.
Once we walked out of the room with our suits on, it was officially time to begin. The speakers blared with music as the first heat of swimmers walked out behind their blocks, and everyone who was not swimming screamed and cheered until their throats went numb. Race after race, we would check the team scores, and my school would rotate between first and second place with Saint Joseph’s Academy. As this continued, everyone was on edge until the people running the meet stopped updating team scores with one fourth of the meet left. At this point, our team was ahead by 30 points, and Saint Joseph’s swim team was determined to come back and win the meet. Each race had everyone on their feet cheering, including the all boys schools who did not have anyone in the pool at the time. It became more of a New Orleans versus Baton Rouge feeling, as the other schools began to pick sides. Then the meet was finally over, and it was a waiting game for the final scores to be announced.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the scores were announced from last place to first place, and all we wanted was for our school to be announced last. The names began with female school results, and in third place was Northshore High School. Then, in second place was our team. We all cheered because we were proud of our hard work, but the salty tears quickly followed and ran down each and every cheek. Then, the first place winners for the sixth time in a row was announced to be Saint Joseph’s Academy. The loss was bitter and brought us all sorrow for one another as our seniors will never join us on another High School State Championship adventure again. As we walked to grab our runner up metals, the Angels all hugged and congratulated us, which made the loss sting a little more. As we walked out of the natatorium, some of us for the very last time, we realized that sometimes the win is not what is most important, but the people we took the adventure with are much more important and special. The group of 2017-2018 swim team will never forget each other and the fight we put forth to make each other proud.