Hidden in the heart of Ithaca, you will find IHS, home to the Li’l Red Girls Swim and Dive team. The team, coached by Mike Blakely-Armitage, has recently had one of the most exciting seasons in its long history. At the beginning of the season, the team had a rough start, facing a devastating loss at a dual meet against the Horseheads Raiders. This marked the team’s first loss in over two decades, ending the Li’l Red Girls’ undefeated streak of over twenty-five years. This loss brought the team into uncharted territory; however, the team did not back down, and has faced every obstacle along the way head on.
The two main highlights of the regular season were outstanding performances at the Shenendehowa (Shen) Invitational, as well as at an exciting dual meet against Owego. On October 6, the IHS Girls’ Swim and Dive team traveled to Clinton Park, NY, to attend the annual Shen Invitational. Over twenty schools from all around the area attended the meet, including some of the fastest teams and swimmers in New York. The meet was a huge success, with almost all members of the Li’l Red coming out of the meet with a personal or seasonal best time. In addition, divers Lucia Safi and Jordan Lu ’18 had outstanding individual performances. The team had another amazing opportunity, this time facing the Owego team on October 13. The meet was extremely close, but the Ithaca Li’l Red came out on top with a score of 97 to Owego’s 89. The Li’l Red had a rough start at the beginning of the meet, but did not back down to the challenge. All members had courageous swims and dives, and the team had an especially spectacular second half, solidifying their win and exemplifying the grit that the team played with throughout the season.
Currently, the Li’l Red has concluded their dual meet season with a 5-1 record, and is now heading towards championship season. Looking once again to win the Section 4, Class A title, the Li’l Red is training with an increased focus on technique and intensity. The team is approaching the meet with a hopeful and positive attitude. Senior and team captain Popo Hong ’18 states that “our girls have a lot of depth, setting us apart from the rest of the other teams in our section. We are all looking towards an exciting victory at sectionals!” The team’s limits will be put to the final test on November 1 and 4 in the sectional prelims and finals, and later in the NYS Swimming and Diving Championship meet. To follow the team’s performances at upcoming events, visit the team’s blog, littleredaquatics.com.