Last year, Lisa Cottage-Ramnick made history.
The Marco Island Academy swimmer qualified for the Class 1A state meet in the 100-yard butterfly, becoming the first Manta Ray swimmer to accomplish that feat.
The senior enters her final high school swimming season looking for more.
“I feel more prepared heading into this season,” Cottage-Ramnick said. “I didn’t take any breaks this summer, I’ve been swimming all summer and putting my work in at the gym as well. I believe I can place well and qualify both my events for the state meet, not just one.”
Cottage-Ramnick also swims the 200-yard individual medley. She qualified for regionals in that event last year but fell short of reaching the state meet.
While she has big goals for herself, she also wants to see her friend and longtime teammate Susan Faremouth qualify for the state meet this year.
“We’ve both been swimming together since we were in the third grade,” she said. “We’ve been practicing and pushing each other. It’s something that we both really want.”
During last year’s state meet, Cottage-Ramnick had a lot of down time leading up to her event. Having a teammate to share the experience with would make the event even more fulfilling. That’s also another reason she’d like to qualify in a second event.
“My event was towards the end of the day, so I was sitting there waiting,” Cottage-Ramnick said. “Qualifying in two events would help, as I wouldn’t have as long a wait to swim. Also, having teammates there would be great. You can pump each other up, and you’ve got friends there to talk to you. You can help each other get ready for your events.”
Marco Island swimming coach Kamal Farhat says he expects both Cottage-Ramnick and Faremouth to not only qualify for state, but to receive college swimming offers as well.
“These girls compete all the time, they simply don’t stop,” Farhat said “And that’s something colleges want to see. Not only are these girls good swimmers, they’re extremely hard workers. They’re always willing to put in the extra effort. Whatever college gets them will be lucky to have them.”
The Manta Rays will again have a small team in 2017, with just six girls and one boy competing.
“We won’t win any meets because we don’t have the numbers,” Farhat said. “But I’m not worried about that. We’ll win our share of individual events. My main objective is seeing the kids having fun and accomplishing their goals. If they’re doing that, it will be a successful season.”
Regardless of what happens in her senior year, Cottage-Ramnick will always be a part of Marco Island Academy athletic history as the first swimmer to qualify for the state meet.
“Personally, I think that’s a really good accomplishment, something I really wanted to happen,” Cottage-Ramnick said. “I had to wait to see if I had qualified, because if you don’t win your event, you don’t find out until after all the regional meets are done if your time was good enough. Coach texted me on a Sunday morning I had made it, and it was one of the happiest moments in my life. I really hope I have that feeling again, and that Susan gets to have that feeling, too.”