Coach Todd Stevens (L) with one of his swimmers, GOOD Morning Wilton writer Kate Bell, who writes about being part of the team that helped her coach reach the magic milestone. 

Six o’clock a.m. Wednesday morning, and we’re already all filled with a nervous excitement, as Coach Todd Stevens briefed my fellow swim teammates and I on what could possibly be his 100th dual meet victory with the Wilton High School Lady Warriors Swim Team. After the early-morning practice, the rest of the school day afterward seemed to drag on minute by minute as the clock counted down to 2:50 p.m. and what could possibly be an extraordinary moment for the entire team.

Finally, it was time for the after-school swim meet against Trumbull. The diving team who dove the day before placing first, fourth and fifth gave the swimmers a nice lead to dive in. After a quick team photo and a nerve-filled warm-up the first event was upon us.  We lined up for the 200 Medley Relay (myself included) and the meet kicked into high gear as we won heat after heart-pounding heat. There is no better feeling than getting out of the pool and realizing the leg of the relay you swam has helped position your team in first place. Of course we can’t win every event (and there were some crushing losses involved in today’s victory), but overall spirits were loud and flying high as the swimmer on the last leg of the last relay touched the wall seconds before the Trumbull girl next to her.

After spending four years on the team winning and losing with Todd I can definitely say this victory was well deserved on his part. While the current team joins the ranks of the girls who came before them in helping Todd win 100 meets, it is still an amazing feeling to know you contributed to those 14 years of victories. The hardest part for me this year will be leaving behind such a well-loved team, which has become a part of me. I can still remember hearing Coach’s first gruff “good job Bell” after hauling myself out of the pool from swimming the 500 freestyle, which–for those who do not swim is 20 laps of freestyle at a very fast pace. Suffice it to say I never swam the 500 again and have stuck to swimming short bursts of freestyle like the 50 m (two laps) and the 100 m (four laps).

While I’ll have a few more compliments from Todd left, today the tables were turned as everyone congratulated Todd on sticking with the crazy swim team girls for fourteen years. (You have to be pretty tough to deal with high school girl drama for that long of a time!) While this may be the beginning of the end of my swim season it is certainly not the end of Todd’s and the team’s victories.