Swim and Dive Captains' Profiles

Sports  /  by Allison Chou '19  /  January 12, 2018

Olalla Duato '18 / The Lawrence

Leading this year’s Varsity Swim and Dive team are Swim Captains Neha Chintamaneni ’18, Kate Liu ’19, Ben Chow ’18, and Matthew Gunton ’18 and Diving Captain Amber Nguyen ’18. Though the team is off to a weaker start compared to last year, with a 0-3 and 1-2 record for the girls and boys team, respectively, the team has “continued to persevere through it all,” Liu said.

Chintamaneni started swimming at the age of three, not starting to compete competitively until the age of 10. Liu, who also started at a very young age, began her swimming career with her previous school’s club team. “I fell in love with [swimming],” Liu said, “I haven’t stopped since.”

Both boys’ captains were first introduced to the sport for recreational reasons. For Chow, what started as water safety lessons eventually blossomed into a passion for the sport. Similarly, Gunton started swimming at his local pool, but eventually met an influential role model who drove his desire to swim.

As for Nguyen, who helped start the Lawrenceville Dive team last year, diving was a way for her to combine her interest in swimming with her passion for dance. Nguyen joined the dive team at the beginning of her freshman year at her previous school, developing an affection for the sport immediately.

Swimming and diving has played a significant role in all of the captains’ lives. “Swimming means so much to me. [...] It’s a great place to exercise, clear my mind and really enjoy the team spirit,” Liu said. Though Chow noted that swimming is “generally brutal,” he “still enjoys it because it is very rewarding.” Chintamaneni added that despite the huge time commitment, she enjoys the team spirit. For Nguyen, although “diving can be really scary,” but she “ultimately appreciates it for forcing [her] to get over her fears.”

As for this season, Gunton views the team as “completely new.” “ Unlike other seasons the team has gotten very close early on,” Gunton said. “We already rely on each other now in ways past teams haven’t done until the end of the season.”

However, the team faced some challenges in losing many of its top swimmers from last season. Liu noted it has been difficult to fill all the events, forcing swimmers to swim a lot of their weaker events and often one right after the other. However, the captains have worked alongside the coaches to address these issues, implementing changes such as increasing yardage per practice and changing lifts to better fit swimming. Chintamaneni added that while the lack of swimmers has had both negative physical and mental effects, the team is “closer together [...] as a team and that’s helping us move forward from the setbacks we’ve had so far.”

“There were many people, both inside the team and outside, who thought that the team atmosphere that the swim team was famous for was done,” Gunton said of this year’s team. “I won’t lie, it was a tough time. But great pressure forges diamonds, and without being overly dramatic, I think the team we have now is one of the greatest we’ve ever had. Not just talent wise, but people wise.”

The Dive team did not escape difficulty, specifically in terms of the diving board, which was supposed to be installed on campus during Thanksgiving Break. Despite not having a real board to practice with, the team has made do with what they have.

Looking to the future, Chow wants the team to continue to support each other and push each others’ limits, both in the water and out. The captains are specifically preparing for the two championship meets, States and Easterns, that occur at the end of the season. As for diving, Nguyen hopes that once the board comes in, “swimming and diving will be more of a cohesive unit.” Nguyen also wants swimmers to be able to jump off the board and try diving. “It’s one thing to sit from a far and just watch and be like ‘oh that’s so cool,’ but it’s another to actually try it and better appreciate what an athlete does,” Nguyen said.

“We’ve gotten good fast,” Gunton said. “The real challenge is going to be how great we can become.”