In a league of their own

Girls swimming transforms from co-ed to competing in state as own squad


Photo by Leo Applegate '23

SWIMMING INTO ACTION Sophia Hazzi ‘26 swimming freestyle at the Oct. 11 meet at Whitmore Lake High School. “It’s nice being on just a team of other girls, it really feels like we have our own team and makes competitions and practices more competitive.

Matthew Streicher '24, Sports Staff

This school year, there has been a significant chance to the girls swim team, who has been looking to move away from their pre-existing coe-d system. The girls will not only compete as their own team, but also move their season to the fall, allowing them to compete in the girls state meet for the first time in their history.   

However, not every girl has to compete in the fall if they don’t want to. They can elect to stay with the coed team if they do not want to have to drop their current fall sport to do swim.

“It will eliminate that need for anyone to drop their sports, and it should smooth itself out over the next few seasons,” said athletic director Meg Seng, who orchestrated the change with other schools in the area, like Whitmore Lake and St. Catherine. “When I asked, there was always some resistance between the fact that some girls would be forced to drop fall sports, and also because many liked the camaraderie of the coed team.” 

The change was orchestrated by Seng, who recently asked the team for their input. Maya Comer ‘24, a member of the team, demonstrated intrest, and others followed.

“I think it’s positive in terms of equality, because we get to compete against other girls at the meets,” said Comer. Equality seems to be a huge part of the shift, both in the fact that the girls are no longer sharing a pool with the boys, and now sharing one with Whitmore Lake, and St. Catherine of Sienna, an all girls school. “On the co-ed team, girls had to make the boys’ qualifying times to compete at championships, and they were close to impossible to achieve. Now, we have our own qualifying times, and it’s much easier.”

Now, swimming season for the girls starts at the same time as the new school year, not allowing for much time to acclimate to the new year between swimming and homework. 

“I think it’s hard going from 0 to 100 what with starting swimming and school at roughly the same time, but a fall season also makes it easier to meet people earlier in the year,” said Comer. 

The team itself has also been impacted socially, as with a smaller team of all girls, it is easier to socialize and form relationships with teammates that were more difficult to form last year.

“Last year I think it was harder for some people to fit in because of the guys. I know some of them were new to the co-ed thing and the girls felt pretty uncomfortable,” said swimmer Morgan Mathis ‘24. “I think from what I can tell the girls are more comfortable now that it’s just girls.”

This huge step for the swim team was not a short process. Over the past few years, Seng has been wanting to move the team in a non-coed direction. However, there seemed to be an issue with the transition every year, whether that be no interest in the change, or not having enough numbers, or even just simply not having a reason to. This year, everything fell into place.

“I approached the team and asked multiple times over the years if they wanted to compete during the girls season. And every year, they said no, until this  year when Maya Comer finally said that she would like to have a chance to compete in the state meet and compete during the girls season,” said Seng. “The timing was just right this year, and so we decided to do it.”. 

Coaching was also a factor that played out well. 

“We have a great head coach who teaches over at Whitmore Lake, and helped with the coed team last year,” said Seng. She is really familiar with the                              

community and the team, along with the assistant coach, who teaches at St Catherine.

Coed contracts are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, depending on the demand for a sport.

“Coed contracts are only two years long, and at the end of those terms, we reevaluate to find out if we need the system or not,” said Seng. We don’t really like coed teams, because they are meant to be used as a life support for programs before they get enough players to go alone. The less we have, the more it shows that we have high participation in sports

Even though girls are allowed to choose to compete in either the fall or winter season, they will not be able to compete in both, so have to choose accordingly.

“This is a great way to give girls opportunities that weren’t available to them on the coed team,” said Seng.