Prep Sports

Olivia Masterson makes big splash in first swim season at City High

HS journalism: Junior set 200 IM school record in first meet

Swimmers dive into the pool at the start of the 50-yard freestyle event during a girls’ high school swim meet at the Mercer Park Aquatic Center in Iowa City last season. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Swimmers dive into the pool at the start of the 50-yard freestyle event during a girls’ high school swim meet at the Mercer Park Aquatic Center in Iowa City last season. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — In her very first meet of the 2018 swim season, City High junior Olivia Masterson broke the oldest record at the school.

She swam the 200 individual medley in 2 minutes, 11.13 seconds, breaking the previous record of 2:13.89 set by Erica Wockenfuss in 1980.

“Everyone was like, ‘What the heck?’” Masterson said. “Even I was not expecting to break it the first meet. That is something I will always remember.”

Masterson is new to City High, moving here from Virginia last summer.

She already is becoming a leader on the City High girls’ swim team. She said the girls on the team are very supportive and made her feel welcome right away.

The swim season is earlier in the year than in Virginia, but she is adjusting quickly to the schedule and the way the team works.

“I really like the meets,” Masterson said. “They go really late but I like the energy they have.

“Everyone is cheering you on and supporting each other. It is just a nice atmosphere.”

Besides being supportive, another thing that adds to the City High swim team is its long list of traditions. These include a team bonding sleepover with Mario Kart, a shaving party before the Little Hawk Invitational, and birthday swims where, if the birthday girl gets a certain time, the whole team gets to leave practice an hour early.

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There also is a tradition that lasts the whole season called “secret swimmer,” where each girl on the team is assigned another girl for whom they make encouraging locker signs and reveal their identity to with a small gift at their last meet.

This year, the coaches also are doing a “Question of the Day.” They ask a question at the beginning of practice and let the swimmers think about and try to answer it. Senior Kate Wilson, one of this year’s captains, described it as being similar to trivia.

“The questions are really all over the place,” Wilson said. “One was ‘What president was also a justice on the Supreme Court?’ (Another was) ‘What album has the most records sold?’ which just got beaten by Thriller. Some girls on our team actually knew that one, for some reason.”

While fun is an important aspect to the swim team, there also is a very serious side. At the beginning of the season, the team wrote down their goals and are constantly working to achieve them.

“(Our goals include) keep going strong, keep giving our best in practice and in meets, beat West, work hard, and have more girls to break 30 seconds in the 50 free than the boys’ team had last winter,” Wilson said.

For the team of 32 swimmers and three divers, the season is only half over.

“It is pretty early on in the season so it is hard to say what the team is going accomplish,” head coach Zane Hugo said. “Right now what they are doing very well is getting together as a group every single practice and working toward the goals that they have set for themselves. They are really chasing them every day.”

Many girls have made big advancements toward their goals.

“I have seen a lot of good racing and a lot of improvements out of everybody even though we are only halfway through the season,” Hugo said. “We have a lot of meets coming up still and I am excited to see those further improvements.”

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