Hoggard eyeing more Mideastern swimming titles
Sat. December 08, 2012 at 5:54 p.m. | By Powell Latimer | StarNews Staff Writer
Hoggard's Abbey Narayan takes first in her Women's 200 yard IM heat during a Mideastern Conference swim meet at UNCW Natatorium on Dec. 8, 2012. (Photo by Photo by Jeff Janowski)
For about as long as high school swimming has been a sport in Wilmington, Hoggard has been winning conference championships.
Heading into the 2012-13 season, Hoggard's girls are gunning for their 13th consecutive Mideastern Conference title. The boys' streak of 12 in a row ended last year when they lost to Rose by five points.
According to Hoggard coach Tammy Pruden, the Vikings have maintained that success with a specific philosophy.
"They believe in the team," Pruden said. "They believe that their individual effort contributes to their team and they have put in the work year-round in order to maintain that success."
That's an unusual philosophy for swimming, which is a team sport only in a liberal sense. It's made up of a bunch of individuals swimming individual events. Wilmington has had its fair share of excellent individuals – including this year in Laney's Travis Johns, the defending Class 4A champion in the 200-yard individual medley, who is eyeing another title or two as a senior.
But individuals come and go and Hoggard continues to dominate as a team. Pruden points to the Vikings' relay teams as an example of their chemistry. Relays are the only time swimmers have to collaborate in action, and Hoggard's were exceptional in 2011-2012. On the boys side, the Vikings qualified four relays for the state championship meet and all four placed in the top eight.
"That's where they gauge how much their effort really does contribute to their team," Pruden said. "And everyone is on a relay at some point."
While Hoggard did lose a state champion in Ashley Brem, who moved to Texas, the Vikings' girls return every other member of their two state-qualifying relay teams. Those swimmers gave Hoggard success on the state level last season as well, with a 11th-place finish (out of 38 teams). The boys finished 12th out of 46 teams.
Pruden couldn't single out any individual as a caretaker of more than a decade's worth of championships, saying instead that responsibility fell collectively to the team.
"I think they know it before they come," Pruden said. "But we also say it out loud. We say it out loud towards the beginning to set that precedent of, ‘You've now made this team. It's now your responsibility to do your part and your job.'"
Powell Latimer: 343-2261
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