73° F Monday, May 22, 2017

By Emily Martinez
Special to the Picayune

The Westlake girls 400 freestyle relay team is hoping to turn their minds into medal this weekend.
The relay team, consisting of Mackenzie Franklin, Emma Gilluly, Alyssa Woltemath and Olivia Muehlburger, is planning to use mental strength as an advantage in hopes of a top-three medal at state this weekend.
The team snagged the first place spot at the district meet. At regionals, the girls faced faster teams and placed third, and they had fought their way on to the state psyche sheet to earn a spot at this weekend’s UIL Swimming and Diving State Championships.
“We have all worked really hard for this relay and can’t wait to represent Westlake at state,” said Woltemath, a sophomore on the relay team.
Along with the physical exertion of swimming for both club teams and the high school team, the mental aspect also plays a large role in performance.
“Most people think sports are all about training,” said Muehlburger, a senior on the relay team. “Training is important of course, but the mental part is big as well. You have to be confident in yourselves and support you teammates if you want to get where you want to in the long run.”
With all of the time and effort the girls put into swimming, it’s no surprise they have all become close friends. That is a key in a relay because of reliance on all of the other members of the team for success.
They train together, cheer each other on and race together.
Franklin, a Westlake junior who is also going to state in the 50 and 100 freestyle, said they are seamless in their relay at this point in the season.
“Our team has trained really hard over the last few weeks, and I believe that we have qualified because our relay works so well together,” Franklin said. “We all get along really well and have been friends, and have been friends for a long time. I could not have picked a better group of girls to accompany me to state, and I’m really proud to have them alongside me.”
After months of hard training, the girls are ready for the state meet. They are all focused, prepared and excited for what lies ahead of them.
“We are not just swimming for ourselves, we are swimming for our team and our coach.” said Gilluly, another sophomore on the girls relay. “We are swimming to represent Westlake and who we are.”
The state swim meet is Friday and Saturday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center.

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