Making A Splash; Girl's Swim Dives Into A New Season
Swimmers step up. There, five feet from your face is the ice cold chlorine filled water. Take your mark. Your fingers are wrapped around the edge of the diving block so hard they’re turning white. Your heart beats as you look around and see seven different girls up there with you waiting for the booming sound of the airhorn. Bang!
Over the last few years, the SLHS Girls Swim team has been exponentially growing and flourishing. With 40 girls on the team, eight are being sent to state this month and are shattering personal records left and right. However, the girls have been faced with some unexpected challenges.
One of these challenges was losing previous head coach Sam Wilson. To take his place was assistant coach Greg Nemick, who started coaching along with Wilson in 2017.
Madison Wosk ‘20, a senior this year on the team, has been swimming for SLHS since freshman year. With almost her whole high school swim career being under the wing of Wilson, Wosk opens up about the realities of the situation.
“It has been a hard adjustment to me and other girls who have been swimming in the previous years. But we have been very open minded and have worked hard to take his advice to improve our times and get faster each meet.”
Not only do the girls persevere through practice five days a week, with three of those practices at 5:30 in the morning, but they also find time to come together and bond to remember what really matters in a team sport: friendship.
Team dinners are a regular event in the swim atmosphere. One girl is chosen to host the dinner and the rest of the girls, and sometimes their parents, bring along some food or drink and head over. The girls even have a tradition of playing Twister at every dinner.
Every year around Christmas, the girls have a tradition of the towel exchange; a version of a White Elephant. This is where every girl brings a towel in a decorated bag, and everyone picks a certain bag and gets a towel. They are allowed to trade and “steal” each other's towels.
While the team knows just how to joke around and lighten any girls mood, it’s not just fun and games. The swim meets, or competitions, SLHS are involved in can be extremely tiring and require an excruciating amount of commitment and grit.
Swimming is all about time. Even a tenth of a second can make or break a first place win to a third place win. Many of the girls on the team strive to go to state at the end of every season; they train seriously and push themselves. In a basic event like a 100-meter backstroke, which is usually four laps of 25-meters, the girls could only take about 15.5 seconds per lap to qualify for state.
Just because swimmers are not as glorified or as praised as much as football or basketball players, doesn’t mean they aren’t any less of an athlete. Swimming is a sport that requires an abundance of strength and endurance, and should be as appreciated and respected as any other physical activity.