Bellingham prep girls’ swim coach Jeff Anderson narrates his team’s time trials, using it as a teaching method to address positive things swimmers are doing to the rest of the team.
On Thursday, Sept. 10, in the 500 freestyle trial, junior Sydney Terrell stood out.
“Look at Sydney doing the 500 all out,” Anderson pointed out to his squad. “Look at Sydney going all out.”
“They were all cheering her,” Anderson said in a phone interview about the scene. “I think they get the message that I like that sort of thing. I reinforce excellence when I see it.”
And Anderson sees a lot of excellence in Terrell.
Terrell, who swims in multiple events but prefers the 500 freestyle and 100 butterfly, is just one of those athletes who shows up to the pool every day — she had perfect attendance last season — and gives her all in everything she does.
“For new girls, I like to do my best to show them good team enthusiasm,” Terrell said in a phone interview. “It’s one of my main motivators. I make all the practices then I will try to do my best and give everything to the team.”
Terrell’s efforts got her on to two of Bellingham’s state relay teams last season, and almost qualified her as an individual in the 500 freestyle.
The experience of competing in the King County Aquatic Center pool was not only a great experience, but should help Terrell this season.
“It’s a huge pool — Olympic size. ... You bring your A-game and do the best you can,” Terrell said. “I think it just helps to kind of know what competition to expect and what you’re up against.”
Terrell will hope to get back to the Federal Way pool again this season — this time as an individual. Anderson said he has “high hopes” for her to qualify in four events — two relays and two individuals.
The hardworking junior has been competing in the pool since she was 9 years old and competes year-round — working with the Bellingham Bay Swim Team when she’s not with the Red Raiders.
Swimming all year puts Terrell in a good position entering the prep season, because she keeps fit with BBST. The constant competition has also allowed Terrell the opportunity to improve in many events.
Although she prefers the 500 free and 100 fly, she also competes in relays and Anderson said she could compete in the individual medley with how good of an all-around competitor she is.
“She’s pretty strong at all four strokes, but she’s strongest at freestyle,” Anderson said. “We’ve tended to swim her in numerous events in the season and narrowed it down to the 200 (freestyle) and 500 (freestyle) the last couple years. We’ll see how it pans out this year. It might be the same thing.”
The key for Terrell is adjusting to the differences between each event and the relays.
“I think with individual events, you have to think there’s not as much pressure to do as well. With team, like if you let your team down, that’s a big weight on your shoulder. You don’t want to do that,” Terrell said. “There’s more pressure to go fast in relays, but it’s more fun because if you do mess up or don’t do your best, you have other people to pick up the slack.”
Mentality and mindset for a swimmer are often just as big a part of success as the physical part of it. For Terrell, she likes to listen to upbeat music to get into a good state of mind, she said. She also tries to think about why she’s competing.
“It helps me to think about who you’re racing for — your team, yourself, racing to get a better time,” Terrell said. “It helps to build a drive if you think of all the things your racing for.”
The Red Raiders may not be on the same level as the top teams in the Northwest Conference, but with Terrell, divers Sunni Sternhagen and Chloe Roth along with senior captains Emma Lochridge and Maddy Hall, Bellingham isn’t devoid of talent.
“I’m pretty optimistic that my girls will fare pretty well in district and state competition,” Anderson said in an email. “The powerhouse teams will still dominate — we’re not there yet — but our presence will be felt.”
Reach Joshua Hart at 360-715-2238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: Spelling of Terrell corrected on Sept. 15.