Yarmouth swimmers score with dive into national anthem

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YARMOUTH — The high school girls’ swim team is making waves in more ways than one. 

The team has a winning record. And since the beginning of the season, six teammates have also captivated their audiences with their singing of the national anthem prior to the start of each meet.

Coach Dave Cox said it is a “remarkable rendition” and a reminder of what is best about sports.

“This group singing the anthem, with the harmonies and passion, puts the event and sports into perspective and brings us all together,” Cox said. “There is no better way to start a competition.”

The sextet – known as “Yarmony” – is made up of YHS Chamber Choir participants and senior swimmers Bay Hanson, Isabelle Dow, Lauren Orser, and Emilie Hardel and freshmen Izabel Cox-Faxon and Zoe Siegel, who are both members of YHS Concert Choir. 

The girls agreed that singing the anthem doesn’t add much stress to their lives in terms of practice time or pre-meet jitters, since the Chamber Choir already had a rendition of the anthem prepared for a naturalization ceremony at YHS last December. Nor do they think acoustics around the pool have posed an issue. 

“The acoustics of the pool honestly make things sound better in my opinion,” Hardel said. “Since sound travels better over water it makes us sound a little louder and more echoey, which is nice.”

Hanson, who is captain of the swim team, occasionally sang the anthem on her own last year, but says it’s much more fun to sing in a group. 

Her mother, Meegan, said she loves hearing the girls sing together. 

“I think from hearing how well their voices blend, you can get a sense that the kids are bonding really well as a team, too,” she said. 

Although most news reports about the national anthem today involve politics and mention former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, Dow said Yarmony didn’t start singing as any kind of political statement. 

Hanson said in today’s political climate, she supports people’s decisions to kneel during the anthem, but feels the song is a “powerful reminder of the values and ideals of our country, including people’s right to protest peacefully.”

“The anthem brings all of us swimmers together before the meet in a moment of solitude,” Dow added. She said she hopes Cox-Faxon and Siegel will carry on the tradition in years to come and Yarmony will become a permanent group at YHS.

Her father, Mike, said he thinks it’s great to see a group of young women singing the national anthem in light of all that has occurred nationally.

“It conveys a sense of optimism and pride in their country,” he said. “But I’m sure to them, they’re just having fun singing a great tune.”

The next time the girls can be heard will be Friday, Jan. 19, at the Casco Bay YMCA prior to their meet against Windham. 

They have also been invited to sing the national anthem at a South Southwesterns regional meet in Cape Elizabeth on Saturday, Feb. 10, and the girl’s Class B state meet at Bowdoin College on Monday, Feb. 19. 

“It’s important to sing the anthem before meets mostly because it brings everyone who’s there together for a second,” Hardel added. “It’s nice to remember that even though we are divided on so many issues … we’re all one nation.”

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or jvansaun@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

Zoe Siegel, left, Izabel Cox-Faxon, Isabelle Dow, Bay Hanson, Emilie Hardel, and Lauren Orser make up “Yarmony.” The six members of Yarmouth High School’s swim team have caught the attention of spectators this season, singing their rendition of the national anthem before every home meet. 

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