What is Air Academy’s Swim and Dive Team Really About?


Sophomore Mimi Telford races against the clock during the January 15th Air Academy v. Lewis Palmer meet.

Step after step, you climb onto the diving board. Your feet are slick with water and the sharp scent of chlorine floods your nose as you inch closer and closer to the edge. With several bounces, you jump; your feet leave the board and before you can blink—before you can even take an extra breath—you hit the water in a magnificent dive.

The girls who dive on the AAHS Swim and Dive Team practice their routines again and again, while the girls who swim on the team join them with every stroke of their hands and every kick of their feet. Of course, it’s not as simple as it may seem; the girls spend enormous amounts of energy and time to perfect each stroke and each flip.

This year, the girls’ Swim and Dive Team comprises 37 competitors, which is a smaller team than last year’s season. Twenty-nine of the girls are regular swimmers and the four divers are Layne Anderson, Meredith Clabaugh, Erin Etsy, and Hayley Pingel. The meets are set up so that the swimmers start competing in the beginning and then they take a break for the diver portion of the meet. After the divers finish, the swimmers will once again return to the pool to finish the meet.

Sophomores Allison Graham and Noelle Jacobsen cheer on the sidelines at the January 15th Air Academy vs. Lewis Palmer meet.


The atmosphere of the meets is filled with kindness, inclusion, and encouragement. There are many girls on the sidelines cheering for the swimmers/divers and waiting in anticipation for score announcements.

“There are so many things I like about Swim and Dive; the girls are amazing and so nice,” sophomore Meredith Clabaugh explained.

“The team is definitely my favorite part,” continued Clabaugh.

Clabaugh isn’t the only one who feels this way. Many of the girls expressed their love not only for the sport but the gratitude and adoration they feel for the team as well.

AAHS science teacher and Head Swim and Dive Coach Scott Newell and his wife Assistant Coach Sarah Boyer-Newell along with Assistant Coach Kendra Boyer-Evers and Dive Coach Julie Millhauser have worked with both the girls’ and the boys’ Swim and Dive team for several seasons at AAHS.

“There are many great kids and characters in the group, and they just work really well together,” said Newell.

Sophomores Meredith Clabaugh and Kate Guiberson pose by the pool after the diving portion of the AAHS v. LP meet

However, one difficulty coaches and teammates of any team face is the tension that sometimes rises. Sports can be stressful as students spend many hours together perfecting techniques and competing. This can sometimes lead to some conflicts between divers swimmers as a result of this extreme pressure, but the teammates and coaches are always quick to diffuse the situation.

Senior co-captain Erin Etsy explains her strategy to navigate through the difficulties that may arise. “I’m friends with a lot of the girls as captain, ” Etsy stated. “I’ve worked really hard with the [other] swim captains to all be involved with each other.”

Etsy’s efforts, as well as the other captains’ efforts, are notable through the way the girls are each others’ supports, friends and family. Laughter, jokes, and cheers can be heard during each meet and no girl ever seems alone.

Swim and Dive may not be the most popular or most attended sport at Air Academy High School, but that doesn’t stop the girls from enjoying their sport. The love and support between teammates can be contagious and cheering the girls on not only supports Swim and Dive but also AAHS. With every splash and every stroke, the girls, the coaches and the parents involved in Swim and Dive become closer and have more fun inside and outside of the water.