Silver Creek Swim Team Wins Conference


Anna Heydt (farthest from camera) and Kylie Dirks (closest to camera) hold up beets in preparation for their conference tournament. Photo from Kylie Dirks

The Silver Creek girls’ swim team has managed to not only survive in a sport hard hit by the novel coronavirus but thrive while doing so. Recently, they won their conference tournament, edging out several other teams during an all-day competition in Erie, and have managed to remain as one of the top teams in the Front Range area.

The Silver Creek team has been training incredibly hard this season, with 75 minute long practices each and every day of the week led by the team’s coach, Debbie Stewart. Stewart is deeply respected by the team, and though she is often described as strict, all of her athletes I spoke with praised her technical know-how and overall coaching skills.

This year’s swimming season has been drastically altered due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It has led to a smaller team, a shorter season, and a whole lot of masks. Members of the team have to wear a mask at all times when they are not actively swimming, which has been a major inconvenience for the athletes. Wearing has, however, proven itself to be a necessary inconvenience; Erie’s team, one of the ones eligible for Saturday’s tournament, had to drop out of competition due to a coronavirus outbreak that put the entire team on quarantine. Even the Silver Creek team had an exposure that could’ve cost them the chance to compete.

The pandemic has also reorganized the process by which swimmers qualify for the State tournament. According to Liliana Perez, one of the team’s breaststrokers, while there is typically a state-qualifying tournament in addition to conference, this year, conference doubles as the state-qualifying event. At Conference, Silver Creek’s Kylie Dirks qualified for State, which will take place the weekend of the 13th and 14th of March.

The Silver Creek team is highly competitive and exceptionally skilled. The three swimmers who were spoken to, Liliana Perez, Faith Sullivan, and Emma Robinson, have been swimming competitively for a total of 17 years. Tryouts this year were also extra cutthroat due to the smaller size or the team. Even though the team is incredibly competitive and experienced, the sense of community that has developed among them is unparalleled in the high school sporting community and was cited by Perez, Sullivan, and Robinson as their favorite part of this year’s swim season.

Perhaps their win at conference and their overall competitiveness are owed in part to their incredible team spirit, which itself might be a result of some of the unique traditions the team partakes in. According to Perez, each year, the Silver Creek team brings a certain red root vegetable with them to conference, giving them the strength necessary to “beet” the competition. Another Silver Creek tradition that was on full display at conference was the team all jumping in the pool (along with their coaches) upon the announcement of their victory.

If you are planning on trying out for the Silver Creek team next year, be prepared for some grueling practices and early mornings, but also be prepared to be a part of one of the friendliest sports teams in all of Colorado. When asked if she had any advice for an athlete who was to join the team next year, Emma Robinson said that they should, “come to each practice and try [their] hardest,” so as to become, “the best swimmer they can.” She also said that the Silver Creek team is quite fast, but joining it has been super rewarding for her, and has pushed her to become a much better swimmer than she was previously. When asked the same question, Faith Sullivan said that anyone who tries out for the team should practice as hard as they can, because, “Practice is the only way you can get better.”

Congratulations to everyone on the Silver Creek girls swim team for their exceptional performance this season, and best of luck next year!