Out of school swimmers represent ESD in Dallas-metroplex meets, with SPC meet postponed
A wave of chlorine fills their noses as they walk into the natatorium swim deck; the three sophomore athletes are suited and ready to dive in their lane just in time for their designated warm-up. Despite a coach, the pack is prepared to compete against the rest of the North Zone SPC athletes to win their heat—consisting of a group of eight swimmers that swim at the same time in different lanes—and place high in their events.
Throughout the winter season, sophomores Sydney Stuelpe, Dylan Oddy and Dagen Geier competed in numerous swim meets throughout the Dallas Metroplex and while the SPC Swimming North Zone Championship was supposed to be on Feb. 11, it was been postponed until further notice due to inclement weather.
The three swimmers practice and race for club teams outside of school and compete at school meets to represent ESD. Last year, Jeff Geier directed the ESD swim program, and now, team mom and lower school PE teacher Dena Geier has taken over the role and found meets for the swimmers.
“I have been happy doing the meet entries and finding meets which were very difficult to do during COVID,” Dena Geier said. “I didn’t swim growing up, and all I know about swimming is what I hear from coaches yelling at my eldest daughter who swam throughout high school and Degan, but I love watching the kids swim and the competitiveness of it. It’s also enjoyable to take pictures of Dagen, Dylan and Sydney, and I look back at the photos and try to tell Dagen some technique things.”
At school meets, swimmers are allowed to race in numerous events to gain qualifying times to race at the SPC swim meet at the end of the season. At SPC, swimmers can swim a total of two individual events and also in relay events. But there are not enough swimmers on the ESD swim team to make a relay, and there are no mixed-gender relays.
“I wish there were more people on the team, but I understand there isn’t a swimming pool at ESD and not a lot of students here swim outside of school,” Stuelpe said. “But the three of us make the most out of it and always sit with each other at the meets and cheer each other on when we are racing. I never had any classes with Dagen and Dylan, so I got to know them more this year.”
Her second year competing at school swim meets, Stuelpe wanted to have fun and did not set any goals for the SPC swim meet. In 2020, Stuelpe raced the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard individual medley and placed 15th and 17th, consecutively. This year, Stuelpe decided to switch her races and plans to swim the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle. Stuelpe swims for the Dallas Mustangs swim team year-round and practices about five times a week.
“I don’t have that many goals for the meet and I just am gonna see how it goes” Stuelpe said. “Because of the bad weather no one has really been able to get out of the house and all of my club team practices have been canceled for the most part. It’s not a huge deal to me that it has been postponed but it’s just annoying because I don’t want all my winter training to not help me for this meet.”
Also his second year competing for ESD swim, Dagen Geier swims for a recreational swim team that competes at state and national meets over the summer. In the school year, Geier participates in school sports, including football, basketball and baseball. In the winter season, Geier doubles up sports and participates in both basketball and swim.
“I’ve been swimming for a long time and wanted to keep on doing it, so I decided just to do both and play basketball through the weekdays and participate in swim meets over the weekend,” Geier said. “Sports take up a ton of my free time, but this is what I love and enjoy doing, and I wouldn’t change it for anything else.”
Leading up to the SPC meet, Geier placed first in the 50-yard freestyle, second in the 100-yard freestyle at an invitational in the Colony, third in the 50-yard freestyle and fourth in the 100-yard freestyle against Greenhill. Geier is hopeful that the North Zone meet will still happen and plans to have fun and enjoy hanging out with his teammates.
“This is just a fun thing I enjoy doing on the weekend until summertime when it becomes my main sport,” Geier said. “I wish there were more [swimmers on the team] but for now it is just the three of us and we have fun and like talking with each other and cheering each other on.”
A new addition to the team and hopeful collegiate swimmer, Oddy has been swimming since fifth grade and swims for Dallas Mustangs with Stuelpe. He plans on racing the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle at SPC and also competed at The Colony Invitational and at Greenhill during January.
“I’ve put a lot of work into swimming with my club, and I knew there was an ESD swim team, so I thought I would join this year for both a sports credit and to represent ESD in some fun school swim meets,” Oddy said. “I hope the SPC North Zone meet does not get cancelled because I think it’ll just be fun to compete with other schools that we haven’t before.”