Nancy Hu is fueled by the past.
As a senior on the Riverview High girls swim team, Hu feels a sense of obligation to carry on the commitment and tradition set forth by those who came before her; a tradition characterized by competitive spirit, camaraderie, culture and state championship aspirations.
It’s that comfort in knowing she’s a part of something special that glides Hu through every lap in practice and meet in which she competes.
Over the past three years, Hu has captured three state championship team titles while also winning an individual state title in the 200-yard individual medley last season.
But nothing would mean more to Hu than closing out her high school career with another gold medal around her neck.
Hu, along with the rest of her teammates, will vie for the Class 4A-Region 2 title Nov. 1, at the Long Center, in Clearwater, in the hopes of advancing to the Class 4A state meet Nov. 7 and ultimately capturing her fourth-consecutive team state championship and leading Riverview to an unprecedented eighth state title over the last nine years.
“It’s such an honor,” Hu says of swimming for Riverview. “Not many teams can say they’ve won as many state championships as we have. Sometimes I think we take it for granted, but I don’t think anything compares to winning a team title. There’s that wow factor.”
Hu and her teammates advanced one step closer to their ultimate goal by capturing the Class 4A-District 6 title Oct. 25. The Lady Rams scored 469 points to edge past Palm Harbor University (447).
Hu captured the Lady Rams’ lone individual district title, winning the 100 butterfly in 57.59 seconds. However, all 17 of the girls on Riverview’s district team qualified for the regional meet in at least one event, with Hu also advancing in the 200 IM, 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay.
“Our team has a lot of depth,” Hu says. “We have a great range of people, and everyone supports one another. It’s a good team.”
Riverview won the team state title by 26 points last season, and although the Lady Rams are younger than in seasons past, their competitive drive remains strong.
“Last year was a great example of maybe not the most talented team but their desire to not let down those people before them,” coach Brent Arckey says. “You can’t ever underestimate that.”
Across the pool, the Riverview boys team fell just short of a district title of its own. The team scored 393 points to finish second behind Clearwater Countryside (399).
Carter Page (200 freestyle, 1:42.97) and Campbell Lee (100 breaststroke, 59.85) captured individual district titles for Riverview.
“It’s another stepping stone,” Page says of being a district champion. “It’s an honor that’s not guaranteed to everyone. It’s good to know that I’m advancing, but I’m ready to swim faster this week.”
As the district runner-up, the Riverview boys team also advanced to the regional meet with the goal of earning another berth in the state meet. The Rams finished second overall at last year’s state meet, which marked their best finish since 1980, when they won the state title.
“Our goal is to swim fast and be in the hunt,” Arckey says. “If we do everything right and let the chips fall where they may, then we’ll have a fighting chance at the state meet. No matter what, we’re going to make people work for what we get.”
Like many swimmers on the Riverview boys and girls swim teams, Page and Hu both started swimming in elementary school and have been a part of the Sarasota Sharks club system ever since.
The pair joined the Riverview swim team as freshmen and quickly worked their way onto the Rams’ district, regional and state meet teams.
“It’s actually cool to represent the school,” Page says. “People know Riverview because of its swim team. We’re pretty good. The coaching staff has played a huge part in helping us come together and be a team.”
Now the two seniors are seeking to guide Riverview to a pair of team state titles.
“That’s what I really love about the whole high school experience — being able to compete at that level and win,” Hu says. “The pressure to keep up the title is what drives us.”
Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].
BY THE NUMBERS
7 - The number of state championships the Riverview High girls swim team has won in the past eight years.
18 - The combined number of years Riverview High seniors Nancy Hu and Carter Page have been swimming.
469 - The number of points the Riverview High girls swim team scored to win the Class 4A-District 6 championship Oct. 25.
1980 - The year the Riverview High boys swim team last won a state title.
49 - The combined number of swimmers on the Riverview High boys and girls swim teams.
3 - The number of years Brent Arckey has been the head coach at Riverview.