Diving in deeper

MN medley relay team breaks the school record.

Sneha Selvaraj, Staff Writer

Keeping her head down, senior Hannah Hailu watches her shadow in the light blue water, waiting for the signal to dive in. Her team of four are competing in the 200 meter medley relay, and she is about to start the race off with her backstroke.

What none of them expected was breaking the school’s record for the event. The four of them would bring down the record time from 1:47.55 to 1:46.36. This became the ninth fastest time in Nebraska high school swimming history.

“Their exchanges clicked, their swims clicked. They put together a fantastic swim that two months later is still the best in the state.” head swimming coach Andrew Cunningham said.

The 200 meter medley is a relay in which a team of four swimmers each do one of four strokes (backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle) in one race. On their team, the backstroke is swam by Hailu, breaststroke by sophomore Ella Petrick, butterfly by senior Mary Ulrich, and finally freestyle by junior Maddie McLeay.

The dual meet, the event of their record break, was supposed to be an opportunity to see how fast the team could go. They did not expect their time to drop so dramatically. 

It surprised the team as well as their coaches since none of them expected them to swim faster than in their previous State competition.

“It was actually pretty funny because I was excited we had won the event. I didn’t realize that we had broken that record,” Ulrich said. “It wasn’t until about half an hour later when [our] coach looked it up and it was pretty exciting.”

Breaking the record was no simple feat. The team spends hours year-round in the pool and in the weight room. Each of them are always motivated to push themselves to new heights.

“I think we dropped so much time because we were all ready to show our team, coaches, and parents what we could accomplish.” Petrick said.

The medley team said they aren’t going to just stop at their school record. They are all going to continue working on improving themselves this season as the State meet quickly approaches.

“Our next goal is to continue to keep improving our time,” McLeay said. “We hope to place high at our State meet in February.”

The team said they are grateful for the effort their coaches put into the swim team, and their coaches are just as proud of their achievements.

“Those girls are just phenomenal. They show up everyday and work hard. They are very driven and very motivated,” Cunningham said. “It’s been a long time since Millard North has had a state champion, but now those girls want to break that streak.”