By Sam Wilson
Elle Holland didn’t return from the state championships with career or season-best times, but the Springville senior keeps everything, including the end of her high school swim career, in perspective.
Holland was 41st out of 71 swimmers in the 100 yard freestyle preliminaries (:54.03) Friday at Ithaca College and 46th of 70 in the 100 yard backstroke (1:00.22). The times may not have been her best, but Holland, who plans to continue swimming in college but is undecided on a school, didn’t sound too disappointed a couple days after coming home.
“To be perfectly honest, this meet didn’t go as well as I had hoped,” she said on Monday. “It was kind of disappointing because I added a couple tenths (of a second) in both of my events. But overall, that’s just a part of swimming because most swimmers if they go a best time five percent of their swims, then that’s great. So most of your swims are going to be an add or you’re going to go slower. So I think this was just another experience to learn from and build off of. So even though I didn’t go my best time at this meet, I still think it was a great experience to just get out there and race with great competitors, see some great girls swim and just be part of that really cool state atmosphere.
“That’s just a part of swimming, so I’m going to keep going and keep training in the offseason.”
Just by making it to states, as Holland did three times in high school, one becomes part of a select group of swimmers. Just 590 swimmers and divers made the state championship out of an estimated 20,000-plus competing at the varsity level in New York State.
Holland was also one of five girls from Section VI to be recognized as a state-qualifying scholar athlete at the meet.
“Going to the state meet is always a really cool experience for me because even though I represent Springville as a school, a lot of my friends and teammates from my club program out of Orchard Park also go and compete for Section VI as well,” Holland said. “I get to compete with my other teammates and some of my best friends at that meet even though I haven’t seen them in a long time. So that’s always really cool for me to get back together with them and swim in that kind of big atmosphere.”
In her six-year varsity swim career at SGI, Holland claimed 86 first-place finishes, 30 second and six third for a total of 595 points. She holds six individual school records (200 freestyle, 200 IM, 50 free, 100 free, 500 free and 100 backstroke), three Springville pool records (200 free, 500 free, 100 back) and one pool record at Pioneer (100 back). Holland also swam on three school-record relay teams (200 medley, 200 free, 400 free).
After her third and final trip to states, though she had mixed feelings on the results, Holland will keep fond memories of competing with her fellow Section VI standouts again.
“I’m going to remember just being with a great group of girls from Section VI who are all there to race and do their best,” she said. “Even though we don’t go to the same schools, everyone there is so supportive and ready to pick you up and get you hyped up and ready to go so I think that’s what I’m going to remember is just being there with girls that even though you don’t know them super-well, swimming just gives you that kind of family atmosphere even though you aren’t super-close with those girls.”