When former University of Miami swimmer Corinna Lallier arrived at Carrollton four years ago, she was a bit surprised at what she found.
The pool was not regulation size — Carrollton can’t hold meets there. Instead of 25 yards, the pool is about 30. And instead of being at least four feet deep, the Carrollton pool is half that at the shallow end.
But Lallier, who also teaches world history at the all-girls’ Catholic school, took it all in stride.
“I remember thinking, ‘Well, this is what we have to work with,’” said Lallier, a 25-year-old native of Minnesota. “Sometimes you have to make the best of things.”
Carrollton did just that last season, finishing 12th in the highly competitive Class 1A.
More good news is on the way for Carrollton this fall, when the new Wellness Center is expected to open.
Matt Alphage, who is in his eighth year as athletic director, said plans for the Wellness Center were in place before he arrived, and he credited the head of the school, Sister Suzanne Cooke, for making it happen.
The bottom line is that for the first time in the 52-year history of the school, the volleyball and basketball teams can play and practice on campus. Previously, they had practiced outdoors.
The new facility will also benefit the Carrollton swim team in terms of conditioning.
In the past, when thunderstorms hit – as they often do in South Florida – the Carrollton girls used the covered stairways to do calisthenics; they did lunges in empty classrooms and sprints down long hallways.
Now they will be able to use the Wellness Center, which also has a track and weight-room equipment.
There are no plans to build a new pool, however. The one they have is a protected historical building, so it will continue to be where the Carrollton girls practice. And there is limited space on campus to build anything new.
The Carrollton pool has only four lanes instead of the normal eight, which means practice is crowded with eight or nine girls using each lane.
In addition, because of how shallow the pool is at the ends, the kids can’t properly practice their flip turns.
“The turns are a huge part of swimming — getting in and off the wall,” Lallier said. “The girls’ hands sometimes hit the bottom when they flip.
“We also don’t have starting blocks. The girls dive off the side of the pool.”
Despite the challenges, Lallier said she senses excitement is growing at the school when it comes to the swim program. She has 29 girls on varsity and 15 in the junior high.
Five of the girls swim year-round, a number Lallier would love to see increase.
“We are a small school with great academics,” Lallier said. “It’s a great school to help kids get to college, but it’s nice to see the athlete part of a person come out as well.
“And even though it’s not regulation, we still have a beautiful pool.”
DADE BOYS’ SWIMMING
DADE GIRLS’ SWIMMING