Girls swimming ready to make waves despite conference change

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Girls swimming ready to make waves despite conference change

Ben Lipka

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As the fall sports season commences, many eager Viking athletes are gearing up for their first few games and meets. Niles North Girls Swimming has sprung into the season with several double practices a day as they prepare for their first meet on Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Niles West Varsity Invite.

This year, the varsity team is led by head coach TJ Moran, and he is backed by assistant coaches Paul Torres and Seth Orlove, who are in charge of junior varsity and novice levels respectively. This is Moran’s first year as head coach. Maria Merka, Dhvani Shah, Shaina Kravitz, and Venice Guevarra are the team captains.

“My biggest goal as captain is to make this season fun and memorable for everyone. I want to motivate all my teammates and keep the atmosphere positive, especially when it gets hard during the middle of the season,” Merka said.

The girls swimming team, like many other sports teams at Niles North, have been put in an interesting situation this year. Niles North was moved from the Central Suburban League Northern Division to the Southern Division as a result of Waukegan and Vernon Hills switching divisions. The competition in the Southern Division is notoriously tougher in many sports with teams such as New Trier and Glenbrook North, putting both athletes and coaches throughout Niles North in a unique position.

“This is my first season as a head coach in a new conference. The only thing I ever expect is my athletes do their best. We have a simple motto this season. Get better every day,” Moran said on his expectations entering the season.

The team’s first competition, the Niles West Varsity Invitational, is just around the corner. The team has high hopes moving ahead. Beyond Niles West, there will be a home meet against Deerfield on Friday, Sept. 16.

“Sophia Pham and Maddy Cox, who are both freshmen, are definitely swimmers to look out for. They have had great practices and races so far,” Merka said. “Still, you should look out for everyone. We’re all working hard and bringing our best to the table. We’ve made tremendous progress in the past few weeks.”

The season may be long and strenuous, with meets practically every weekend throughout September and October and championship competitions in November, however Niles North Girls Swimming has dedicated several hours of each day to practicing and preparing for the season. Through hard work, this dedicated group of girls are bound to make a splash in the upcoming months.

Go support the girls swimming team on Sept. 10 at Niles West and on Sept. 16 at Niles North! To see a full schedule of their meet, visit their website.