The deafening roar spoke volumes.
Inside the confines of the Stanwood Camano YMCA pool Thursday afternoon, the Spartans were finishing strong in just about every event during a three-team meet — with each final leg building to a boisterous crescendo by teammates and the home crowd.
“When you’re in the water, you can hear the muffles (of the screams), but to know that all your friends and teammates are supporting you, it does make you go faster,” senior Hannah Lull said.
The Spartans harnessed that energy to help swim their way to a 116-53 win over Everett and a 109-61 victory over Cascade.
“The atmosphere was incredible,” head coach Rita Peterson said. “It was super loud. A lot of fun.”
It’s something that’s been building since the YMCA opened four years ago. The seven Spartan seniors — Lull, Haylee Wilcox, Rylee Stuller, Sarah Schmidt, Kelsey McFall, Jetlynn Hau and Lauren Brager — have all been with the program since they were among the first to dive into the new pool.
“They’re all four-year seniors, and they ended last season really strong,” Peterson said. “They really want to experience state and break some school records.”
Lull said the team wants to continue dropping times while fine-tuning their relay teams.
“I think we’re on the right track,” she said. “We’re faster now than we were at this point last year.”
Part of the increased speed is due to an increase in offseason training, something that’s been steadily growing over the past four years, Lull said.
“Every year, we’ve gotten closer — more team dinners, more bonding, more offseason training,” she said. “I had doubts (about sticking with the team) in my sophomore year, but I’m glad I stuck with it. It’s a highlight of my high school career. I’ve gained lots of confidence and became close friends with so many of my teammates.”
Lull said she hopes more Spartan fans pack the pool to increase the decibel level.
“It’s one of my favorite sports to watch,” she said. “It makes you want to go swim yourself. It’s exciting. It has a different vibe than other sports — there’s a team aspect and an individual aspect to it.”
Fans on Thursday watched as most Spartans posted new best times — including sophomore Audri Day, who had her best meet ever, Peterson said. Day dropped 7 seconds in the 200 yard freestyle to qualify for districts, and she dropped 17 seconds in the 500 yard freestyle to qualify for districts — in addition to posting best times in the 50 yard freestyle and her leg of the 200 yard freestyle relay.
“She swam in the offseason, and she’s been training really hard,” Peterson said. “She’s consistent, and she’s sticking it out in hard sets. She’s pushing herself in training, and it’s paying off. To get two district qualifying times is really incredible.”
The Spartans got winners in the 200 yard medley relay (Lull, Aleena Wiegand, Sarah Schmidt and Sarah Watkins, 2:09.62), 200 yard individual medley (Jetlynn Hau, 2:15.16), 100 yard butterfly (Anna Veazey, 1:02.54), 500 yard freestyle (Aleena Wiegand, 6:09.31), 200 yard freestyle relay (Anna Veazey, Lauren Brager, Olivia Hering and Jetlynn Hau, 1:49.00), 100 yard breaststroke (Jetlynn Hau, 1:09.04) and 400 yard freestyle relay (Anna Veazey, Olivia Hering, Aleena Wiegand and Jetlynn Hau, 3:58.20).
The JV swimmers posted 13 best times in the 50 yard freestyle.
“That doesn’t happen often,” Peterson said. “Everything has to go right in a sprint to post a best time.”
Now, the Spartans turn toward the second half of the season with an eye on fine-tuning their relay teams for the postseason, Peterson said. Stanwood hosts Shorewood on Thursday in its only action of the week.
“This Thursday is a chance to see how close we are on our relays,” she said. “Shorewood has always had great depth in their sprinters. This will be a good test for us.”