STRASBURG — Abigail Davis tried to make the most out of a difficult offseason.
The Strasburg senior swimmer is used to swimming year-round, but when Virginia was on a lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said it was hard on her.
“We had our (state swim) championship week in February, then the pandemic hit in March,” Davis said. “So it was a period of nothing. It was nice to get the break for like the first week. Then after that, it was OK what do I do now, because I don’t want to stay out of the water. I don’t want to stop doing anything. So I turned to dry land for a while looked into exercising outside the water more than I had been. We did do that and after a while when things started to lighten back up, I was able to start getting in the water slowly, limited capacity.”
Davis said she started swimming regularly again over the summer and has been working with Valley Swim Team Phoenix, which is based out of Strasburg’s Signal Knob Recreation Center.
Davis said she is now swimming five or six days a week to get ready for the upcoming Strasburg High School swim season. She said she gave up travel soccer this fall so she could focus on her senior swim season.
Davis said that swimming with Team Phoenix has been a big plus for her.
“It’s helped a lot,” she said. “My endurance has definitely increased. The technique I have is better.”
Davis said it’s a good feeling just to be back in the water and practicing after being out for a while.
“I’m happy to be back in the water,” she said. “I’m happy to be working. I’m happy to be reaching towards the goals that I want to get to.”
Davis has put together three stellar seasons for Strasburg. As a freshman, Davis was Strasburg’s only state qualifier, finishing fifth in the breaststroke.
Her sophomore season, Davis went to states again and was fourth in the breaststroke and eighth in the 200 Individual Medley.
Last year Davis had another big season. She went to states and was fourth in the breaststroke and fourth in the 200 IM. She was also part of Strasburg’s 200 medley relay team, which finished fifth and the 200 free relay, which finished fourth.
Davis was also the Region 2B Girls Swimmer of the Year and won the regional title in the breaststroke and the 200 IM and helped the Rams to regional titles in the 200 medley and the 200 free relays.
Strasburg swim coach Ina Rae Crisman said that Davis has been a huge part of Strasburg’s swim program.
“She’s a senior and, to me, she has been the glue to the team,” Crisman said. “She’s a really good leader. She works hard. That carries over to the other swimmers. They listen to her and they respect her, and because of all of her hard work that pays off in the dividends in the water. She means a lot to me and to this program.”
Crisman said that Davis, who will likely be one of only two girls seniors on this year’s squad, is a natural leader.
“She loves it,” Crisman said. “She takes a lot of pride in being able to show what she knows and share her knowledge to everyone else. If we’re organizing a function or something I can just kind of call on her and she runs with it and takes it. If someone is struggling she’s a person that will go over to them and pick them up a little bit. They see what she does in the water and they try to emulate that. She’s always trying to help.”
Davis said one of the biggest highlights of her career was last season’s postseason. The Rams swept the Region 2B team titles and performed well at the Class 2 state meet. Strasburg’s boys finished fourth in the state and the girls finished fifth.
“We went to states and we worked just as hard (as regionals),” Davis said. “The night of states and the day of states was just such a fun time being together. Not necessarily relaxing but enjoying the excitement and enjoying the atmosphere of being at a championship meet and knowing that the hard work is finally paying off.”
Strasburg will have a young girls swim squad after losing a lot of seniors to graduation, but Davis said she still thinks they can have a lot of success.
“From what I’m seeing, I think we have a lot of people returning from last year and we have a good amount of underclassmen that are stepping up to the plate,” she said. “I know we lost a lot of seniors. We’re going to have a smaller team merely because of circumstances and that’s OK, because the ones that I know are coming back and I’ve seen the ones that are going to start and they’re willing to work hard. I think they have some nice talent and drive that will help us get faster, work hard and become a team.”
Strasburg is scheduled to open its swim season on Dec. 30, hosting Broadway.
Davis said that she wants to make the most of her final year.
“It’s one of those things where it’s my last shot to prove something,” Davis said. “Even though I feel that I’ve proved a lot individually, this year I want to prove a lot as a team again. We did last year. I want to prove that even though we lost people, new people are here and we can be just as successful with those people as we can with the seniors that left last year.”