NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

Harpeth Hall's 2017-18 Swimming and Diving team was named NATIONAL CHAMPIONS by Swimming World magazine on September 1, 2018.

The surprise announcement was disclosed at the end of assembly when the screen on stage was lifted to reveal the team, standing arm in arm in their warm up gear, while "We are the Champions" played loudly in the Frances Bond Davis Theatre.

The audience of girls, faculty, and staff leapt to their feet for a well-deserved standing ovation and cheering in support of this outstanding team of athletes and friends.

The extraordinary achievement of being named National Champions comes after a series of many remarkable years under the leadership of veteran coach, Polly Linden. The Harpeth Hall "Bearacudas" won their 21st consecutive Middle Tennessee High School Swim Association (MTHSS) Region Championship in early January 2018. In February, they won their fifth consecutive Tennessee Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (TISCA) State Championship at the University of Tennessee, taking the total to 12 state titles since 2001 - all of which were earned under the leadership of Coach Polly Linden, who was named Coach of the Year by the Tennessean in 2018.

Swimming World Magazine has named the Swimming World High School Teams of the Year since 1971. The National Champion title is determined, according to Coach Linden, by the comparison of all State Champion teams' fastest times and additional points are added based on where teams finished in each event (1st, 2nd, 3rd...) The team with the highest points is named National Champions. In early August, Linden learned Harpeth Hall secured the top spot for the 2017-2018 season, out-scored the second place team Buchholz High School in Florida by 35 points, and dethroned Carmel High School in Indiana, who had been named National Champions the past five consecutive years.

"What made this team different is that we won first in almost every single event this year. Our best swimmers are the top swimmers in the state and country. It made it exciting because it was a different kind of season. They were breaking national records, and that is not something that happens often or ever," Coach Linden said.

The team includes many state record holders as well as swimmers who broke national records this year:

  • Alex Walsh '20 broke the national independent school record in breast stroke
  • Gretchen Walsh '21 broke the national independent school record in 50 meter freestyle
  • The 200 meter medley relay team broke national independent school record (Alex Walsh '20, Ella Nelson '19, Alex Massey '20, Gretchen Walsh '21)

Harpeth Hall was featured on the cover of the September issue of Swimming World Magazine, and the news was shared with the Harpeth Hall community by email, on the HarpethHall.org website, in several campus publications, and through social media channels. A banner was also displayed on the corner of Hobbs Road and Estes Avenue recognizing the team.



Read the full text of the Swimming World article here.

Congratulations to a very talented team on an outstanding year! We are incredibly proud!

Harpeth Hall's 2018 Swimming and Diving Team

Class of 2018

Julia Jane Eskew

Jennie Gaw

Caroline Hannon

Carly Horner

Lauren Lee

Kate Mabry

Elizabeth Massey


Class of 2019

Mia Brakebill

Hannah Clair Fisher

Millie Kirkland

Ella Nelson

Ophelia Pilkinton

Katerina Werkhaven

Grace Whitehouse

Julia Yakushi


Class of 2020

Katelyn Aquino

Eleanor Henderson

Alex Massey

Alex Walsh

Ilanit Sedek

Prim Wiphatphumiprates


Class of 2021

Olivia Barlow

Janet Briggs

Sabrina Chandra

Maddy Corts

Margo Dobbs

Lily Silvester

Gretchen Walsh

Ava Claire Williams

Kate Wilson