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Holy Names Swimming & Diving Team Secures Back-to-Back State Championship 

Holy Names Swimming & Diving Team Secures Back-to-Back State Championship 

Article by Catherine Neely ’24

As someone who has been a part of the Academy’s high school swimming and diving team since 6th grade, this year's achievements hold a unique significance for us, especially following our monumental 2022 2A State Championship win. Despite the departure of several senior teammates last year, we remained determined to pull off a repeat state championship. Keeping our goal in mind, we successfully completed our regular season undefeated, including our City Relays Championship victory alongside Jesuit.

We quickly moved from the regular season into the state series, where we secured another win at Districts that included 7 individual champions and 2 relay championships, making it our 16th straight district title! The momentum continued as we seized yet another victory at regions, marking our 14th straight region title with 7 individual champions and 3 relay championships.

The anticipation and nerves leading into the state meet were palpable, especially with the new venue in Ocala. However, that nervous energy soon turned into the thrill of victory as our team etched its name in history as back-to-back 2A State Champions. In a triumphant follow-up to our historic victory in the state championship last year, our team dominated the competition as we surged ahead with a 121-point lead over second-place Gulliver Prep. But it wasn’t just about the win. It was a momentous occasion for us, marked by the shattering of 7 school records and the achievement of 6 All-American qualifying swims.

As a member of the Aquajags, I can't help but be amazed at the collective effort and dedication that fueled this success. The joy of victory is still reverberating within us, as we reflect on the journey that led to this remarkable state championship. Breaking records wasn't just about the numbers; it was about rewriting our narrative and leaving an enduring legacy in the pool.

The relays saw stellar performances:

  • The State Champion 200 Medley Relay: Brooke Beede ’24, Catherine Dieffenthaller ’27, Megan Hyer ’24, and Isabella Dieffenthaller ’25 set a new school record and earned an All-American qualification.
  • 3rd place 200 Freestyle Relay: Grace Callahan ’25, Catherine Dieffenthaller ’27, Lily Rittenhouse ’24, and Eden Jennings ’25.
  • The State Champion 400 Freestyle Relay: Isabella Dieffenthaller ’25, Megan Hyer ’24, Grace Callahan ’25, and Brooke Beede ’24 set a new school record and earned an All-American qualification.

Individual achievements lit up the pool, too:

  • Brooke Beede ’24 emerged as State Champion in both the 200 IM and 100 Backstroke, breaking school records and securing All-American qualifications in both events.
  • Isabella Dieffenthaller ’25 claimed the State Champion title in the 50 Freestyle and 100 Freestyle while setting new school records and earning All-American qualifications.
  • Grace Callahan ’25 earned 6th place in the 200 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke.
  • Matea Leone ’24 finished in 4th place for diving.
  • Megan Hyer ’24 placed 7th in the 100 Butterfly.
  • Catherine Dieffenthaller ’27 earned 2nd place in the 100 Breaststroke.

Behind every stroke, every dive, and every triumph stood our unwavering support system—the coaches and mentors who shaped our journey. Mr. Kevin Vargas’ steadfast support, particularly at the regional and state meets, meant the world to us. Heartfelt gratitude extends to our exceptional coaches—Chuck Hahn, Alexandra Diaz ’13, Kathie McNeil, and Ken Wiebeck—who helped shape us as a team. A special mention goes out to Coach Bill Shaffer, whose belief in our collective potential united us and pushed us to surpass our limits in each practice and meet.

As I bid farewell to my swimming career at AHN, I am filled with pride for what we've accomplished together. Every girl who contributed to this journey holds a special place in my heart, and I will cherish the memories made with this team for a lifetime. This, indeed, has been the perfect ending to my time in the pool at AHN!