Solon High School’s Swim and Dive team is ready to make a splash

Junior Hannah Jones competing.

Jean DiMatteo

Junior Hannah Jones competing.

Hannah Levenson, Editor in Chief

As the weather turns colder, outdoor pools close and indoor pools are sought out–for high school students across the country, swim team

season has begun. As the leaves change color, the Solon High School (SHS) swim and dive team put on their uniforms. The team began practice on Oct. 29, the first meet will occur on Dec. 4.

SHS’s natatorium is under renovation due to structural damage in the diving well, the deep end of the pool, and will not be in use this swim season. This has resulted in the swim team having evening practices at Bedford High School, departing from a typical season’s 5 a.m. practice.

The SHS natatorium under construction. (Hannah Levenson)

Divers, on the other hand, travel to University of Akron and Cleveland State University for practices. The distance, as well as last year’s senior divers graduating, has contributed to the team being reduced from 11 to four divers this season. Their practices also occur in the evening.

Despite the reduced size of the teams, they have several team bonding events planned for the season. SHS Divers Dominic Roberto and Bethany Mercer agree that while they have known some of the team since childhood, due to their participation on club teams, they have gotten to know their teammates better as people this year. Hannah Jones, a SHS junior on the swim team, says she does not go a single weekend without hanging out with her fellow teammates.

“We do everything,” said Jones. “We have a lot of pasta parties [and] a lot of brunches. Every single Saturday we go out and get lunch or breakfast right after [swim practices]. We do scavenger hunts, and we decorate our goals together. We are just always together.”

Under Coach David Perchinske, swim captain junior Ava Shaker, and dive captain senior Patrick Burke, the teams are gearing up for the season. The teams typically compete in dual meets, in which the swim team and diving team both compete in a meet. The teams then begin the tournament season in late January, competing in sectionals, districts and then those who may qualify for states.

Swimmers and divers must be within the top rankings at meets and tournaments in order to qualify. The swim and dive team goals for this season is to send members to districts and states. Shaker hopes to see herself, as well as her fellow team members, make it to districts and states.

“Districts are always a challenge,” Shaker said. “Everyone really wants to make it [because] it’s a cut meet.”

Other team members have a different goal this season. Burke is looking forward to seeing fellow divers from his club team compete from their respective high schools. Junior swimmer Grace Perlberg, hopes to see the swim team get a scholarship for having one of the highest GPAs in the state.

Freshman swimmer George Libecco hopes to improve his personal time record in his main event, the 1500 freestyle.

Both teams agreed the event they are looking forward to the most is the Greater Cleveland Conference.

The team had notable success last year with the girls swimming and diving team earning the GCC co-championship, coach Perchinske won girls swimming and diving co-coach of the year, Roberto won the GCC boys’ diver of the year, Solon 2021 alumni Abigail Wilkov won the GCC girls’ diver of the year and as well as honorable mentions to eight team members. The team hopes to produce more champions this season.

“I’m really looking forward to the success the girl’s [swim] team is going to have,” Jones said. “One of our main goals is to win the greater Cleveland conference.”