Fairmont’s Swimming and Diving teams swim towards success


Photo: Michael Kelley and Sammy Lowe

Two Firebird swimmers begin their race after diving intensely off the block.

Fairmont’s swim team welcomes Krista Berning as the new head varsity coach for the 2015-16 season. In high school, Berning was a swimmer. She later began her coaching career as she headed up summer league teams for her kids. With recent turnover in coaching positions at Fairmont, Berning saw an opportunity to get involved.

“There have been a lot of coaching changes here at Fairmont, we’ve had five coaches in five years,” Berning said. She decided to take the job because she was interested in getting the program organized.

As the new season begins, Fairmont splashes into practice every day of the week. Head diving coach, Amber Brewer, is also excited about this season and the potential for the program. There are many strong swimmers and divers returning this year as well as new members joining the team. Brewer and Berning are confident in their young talent and have a positive outlook on the year ahead.

“There are a lot of freshman swimmers who have experience from their summer teams,” Berning said. “We’re going to have a really good season.”

Though swimming and diving have similarities, the two sports have different scoring systems for competitions.

During their competitions, swimmers compete for certain places, each of which award different point totals. “You get certain point tally for a place, relay points are double,” Berning said. “It helps to have four strong swimmers so you get more points.”

With swimming and diving, you can start anywhere, with little or no experience at all. “Everyone works on [diving] at their own level,” Brewer said. 

Swimming takes a great amount of time and practice. Most swimmers have a lot of experience, like sophomore Hannah Phillips, who started when she was four. “The encouragement of my team helps me push myself,” Phillips said. “I’m excited for this season. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and becoming a better swimmer.”

Just like swimming, diving takes just as much time. The practices are very different, but the effort required is the same. “The divers warm up with a drill, and have two dives for the day,” Brewer said. “Everyone works on it at their own level.” 

The swimming and diving teams are off to a great start. With hard work and practice, the team looks to build upon their daily improvements.  “They are all trying to get better at their own level,” Berning said. “And they’re looking for their own areas of improvement.”