Aquatic Aces: Women’s Swim Team Wins PVAC Championship


Nani Jackson

On Thursday, January 26th, the SSFS Women’s and Men’s Varsity Swim Teams faced off against Washington Christian Academy, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Washington International School, the Field School, and Saint Anselm’s Abbey School at the PVAC Swimming Championship. Boasting an impressive roster of seven swimmers, the women’s team placed first in the league for the first time in SSFS history, bringing back a championship banner to forever adorn the wall of the Athletic Center. Seniors Emma Doty, Siri Eller, Madeleine Ewing, Rachel Fishman, Nani Jackson, Norah Juzenas and sophomore Grace Christerson were able to compete in nine different individual events and three relays, scoring a total of 95 points. Individually, Madeleine and Norah also qualified for the 2023 PVAC Girls Swimming Second Team and Nani for the First Team. And despite being the only member of the 2022-2023 SSFS Men’s Swim Team, sophomore Brennan Shaw scored an impressive 10 points and placed the men’s team at fourth in the league.

After a series of challenging swim seasons interrupted by Covid restrictions, pool closures, and last-minute cancellations, this year’s triumph came as a refreshing change of pace for the Sandy Spring Swim Team. Despite the fact that only two of the SSFS students at the championship meet swim competitively outside of school, the enthusiasm and determination demonstrated by all participants carried the team to a victory that, mere days earlier, would have seemed impossible. Starting off with just one swimmer, the women’s team grew steadily throughout the season, rising to three members—Nani, Emma, and junior Ayliana Moses—by the second meet, and garnering the final seven competitors only by the championship meet. And while all but two of the competing swimmers will be graduating at the end of this year, winning the championship banner represents a wonderful opportunity for future generations of students to be inspired to pursue their athletic passions, even in the face of difficult circumstances. As Coach Erin O’Leary optimistically noted when presenting the banner to athletic director Bruce Nkala, while this may be the first banner the Sandy Spring Swim Team has brought home, it certainly won’t be the last.