Rams to Watch: Swimmers Maeve Campbell, Toby Barnett

Graphic by Elenna Mach

Brendan Stewart and Elizabeth DiFonzo

Sophomore Maeve Campbell

After an impressive freshman season, sophomore swimmer Maeve Campbell has no interest in slowing down as she looks to continue to improve her times and help the team during this season and in the following years.

To improve her swimming and allow her to compete at a high level, Campbell has been swimming for Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club (RMSC) for the past two years. Though she has only been swimming for RMSC for two years, she has a lot of experience swimming elsewhere. She learned to swim when she was three years old and has been swimming for the Flower Valley Swim Team every summer since. The training regimen, time demands and level of competition that she experiences with RMSC were a major change from Flower Valley swimming, she said.

“[RMSC] has dramatically changed my life,” Campbell said. “I practice seven days a week. Most days consist of aerobic training and test sets while others are mechanic based.”

For RHS, Campbell swims the 100 backstroke, 50 freestyle, 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay. For RMSC, she swims the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke. 

Swimming for RHS, Campbell stands out with her positive attitude that rubs off on her teammates.

“Even if she’s nervous about a race or doesn’t want to swim she’ll always make sure you’re pumped and ready to race with a smile on your face,” sophomore teammate Adele Sherlock said.

Her freshman year, Campbell was part of an RHS record-setting 400 freestyle relay and set the school record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.93 seconds. Despite her accomplishments, she has even higher expectations for this season.

“My goal for this season is to go a best time in 50 free and 100 back and break my standing records,” she said. “Another goal of mine is to win states in 100 back.”

Her goals for this season are by no means easy to achieve, but thanks to her consistent practice and dedication to the sport, she certainly has a chance. At Metros this season, Campbell broke the RHS 100 backstroke record and was again part of a record-setting 400 freestyle relay.

While she clearly plays an important role in scoring points for the team, Campbell feels that her bigger role is in cheering on her teammates, she said.

“[Campbell] is definitely a great swimmer but she’s just as important to the team out of the water as in it,” junior teammate Sean Davis said. “She is always cheering people on during their events and just being a good teammate overall whether it’s at practice or a meet.”

Looking ahead into her overall RHS swimming career, Campbell simply wants to continuously get better, improving her times and strokes and performing at a high level in meets. She also hopes to leave a lasting impact on the RHS record boards.

“My overall goals for my RHS swimming career are to go best times each year and perform well at states and metros,” Campbell said. “I also want to work on breaking more records.”

 

Sophomore Toby Barnett

Competing in varsity sports can be daunting for any athlete, especially underclassmen, but freshman swimmer Toby Barnett embraces the pressure and uses it as motivation to help his new team.

 Since joining the swim team this year, Barnett has been quietly making a name for himself in the pool and impressing and influencing his teammates. This season, Barnett broke the school record for the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke at metros.

“Toby is a very valued swimmer. His talent and determination help carry the team. [He] for sure stands out in front of others; he is a very skilled swimmer,” junior teammate Bea McClure said.

Barnett isn’t a stranger to swimming; he has been swimming competitively for seven years. Outside of RHS, he swims for Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club (RMSC), a national swimming powerhouse. They have produced nationally ranked swimmers including Flower Valley Native Jack Conger who participated in the 2016 Summer Olympic games in Brazil and Nate Watts (‘19) who holds a school record for the 200 medley relay and currently swims for the Naval Academy. 

While many high school students participate in as many as three sports per school year, RMSC swimmers primarily focus on only swimming, Barnett said. He has chosen to focus on swimming as well, which has helped make him more competitive and exceptional in the sport.

Though only a freshman, Barnett actively demonstrates what it takes to earn the respect of his fellow swimmers. Barnett’s attitude is very relaxed and helps give the team confidence, RHS coach James Castonguay said. 

“Barnett is very beneficial to the team and will make a good leader over the next three years. He contributes a leadership role to the team even as an underclassmen and picks up the energy of the team,” junior teammate Scott Eckenrode said.

This season, he hopes to win states. Although these are high standards for Barnett, if he continues to improve on some of his strokes, his ability to swim fast will improve drastically, he said. 

“I would like to help the team out this year by scoring for them. I think that this will be affected by how I am going to be training and how my competition is going to be performing in their season,” Barnett said.

Barnett feels very accepted on the RHS team, which helped him get a feeling for the school, he said. 

“Everybody on the team was friendly and nice. It was helpful that I knew a few people before coming to practice, but once I came, everybody was welcoming,” Barnett said. 

Barnett is strong in the water— he is not only versatile and can swim all four strokes fast, but he also knows how to break down his opponent, and get a natural feel for how to swim a race, Castonguay said. 

“Toby is truly versatile, there is no stroke he does not swim well. He is a phenomenal athlete and you can see his talent as soon as he dives into the pool,” Castonguay said. “His technique is very sound, so over his high school career it will be about getting bigger, stronger and gaining more experience.”