Boys swim and dive team shatters records


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Left to right: Sam Russell, Kenny Qian, Franklin Yeo, Zak Russell, Ollie Costolloe, Ben Pollak, Nathan Katz, Guy Talmor and Kia Shahbazi (center). The swim and dive team capped an undefeated regular season with a 10th place finish at States. Photo by Kendall McGowan.

Left to right: Sam Russell, Kenny Qian, Franklin Yeo, Zak Russell, Ollie Costolloe, Ben Pollak, Nathan Katz, Guy Talmor
and Kia Shahbazi (center). The swim and dive team capped an undefeated regular season with a 10th place finish at States. Photo by Kendall McGowan.

The boys varsity swimming and diving team dominated the chlorine this winter with a successful undefeated season of 10-0, finishing seventh place as a team in the Central/ South Sectional Championships and 10th place as a team for all of Massachusetts in the states competition, breaking nine new personal records in the process.

“We really had a fantastic season this year,” senior captain Ben Pollak said. “We lost one of our top swimmers a month ago due to a concussion and another top swimmer couldn’t compete in his regular relay due to a shoulder injury. Because we were down a couple of our top guys, we were extremely pleased with a 10th place finish in states.”

Even in the face of adversity, Pollak said the athletes managed to pick up the pace even more and work harder in order to succeed at the state championship held at M.I.T.

“We were all excited to compete, and the training we did the week before states was on point and prepared us very well to race fast,” Pollak said. “It really took everyone performing their best to do as well as we did, and now we can say we are a top ten team in Division I MA.”

In both sectionals and states, athletes needed to qualify for the different races in order to enter. In the States competition, two divers qualified to compete, including junior Ollie Costolloe who placed second and sophomore Nick Shlosman who placed 13th in Massachusetts. In addition, junior Nate Katz scored sixth in the 100 free, but first for juniors in the state.

Part of the recipe to having such a successful season is natural talent, and furthermore, according to senior Guy Talmor, many of the boys on the varsity swim team embody raw skill as they swim for other club teams throughout the year.

“The club teams really do a good job of developing the talent of young athletes, so each year we have had many talented Brookline athletes, but these past couple of years, we’ve done a great job of even further developing that talent,” Talmor said.

In addition to skills, knowledge and talent from club teams, swimmers and divers said that perseverance and hard work are their keys for success. Many students agreed that although the training and workouts are tiring, they help make a difference in the long run.

Besides the immense amount of preparation and hard work the swimmers and divers put in week after week, they all agreed that what made their team exceptional this year was strong chemistry.

“The team is incredibly supportive and everyone really enjoys each other,” junior Ollie Costolloe said. “The best part that I get to experience is when the swimming stops and the diving meet starts and everyone on the swim team is watching, supporting and cheering on all the divers. Divers on other teams are always surprised at how our team gets so into it, and that just shows how we genuinely care about how everyone else does.”

In addition to sharing close bonds during school and at practice, members of the boys varsity team organize activities on weekends and nights for the team to all engage in, which Katz said helps foster brotherhood within the team.

“We have a lot of team celebrations and parties on the Thursdays before meets, which build up our team spirit and also motivate the swimmers on the team,” junior Nate Katz said.

In describing their team, athletes including Katz said that because the students are all friends and hang out with each other often outside of swimming, it creates a sense of trust and respect for one another, making for an overall well-rounded team.

“I would say that we’re all pretty funny; there’s a lot of camaraderie and everyone loves each other,” Talmor said. “There’s not many club teams in the area and there’s only one recreational team in Brookline, so most of these kids have been swimming together for the past few years now and have grown up together.”

Although the season has come to an end, the three captains this year, seniors Ben Pollak, Kenny Qian and Zak Russell, said they are hopeful for the success of next year’s team.

“The team next year has the potential to be even better than we were this year,” Pollak said. “I have no doubt that the junior class will lead the team to a fantastic season as seniors next year.”

Tasoula Burk can be contacted at bhs.sagamore@gmail.com.

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