Why Swim?

Maddie Minobe

Maddie Minobe

Emmalyn Meyer, Writer

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Maddie Minobe
Ellie Denice

Michaela Godfrey (12) races down the pool on the last lap of her 100-yard backstroke, pulling ahead of
her competition in the lane next to her. She finishes, hitting the wall hard. Gasping for breath and
legs shaking, she turns her head towards the board. Her time is barely over one minute. She sighs in discontentment, ignoring the seventh place next to her name. Even though she had worked vigorously for weeks, she’s only managed to cut a few milliseconds.

For the majority of the winter season, the ambitious students on the swim and dive team train for hours every day, building endurance and perfecting their technique. Every swimmer dedicates months to the sport, and some have an even larger commitment – most of the team swims for local club SWAC, which practices and competes year-round. The commitment to both teams involves many morning practices as early as 5 a.m.

“Swimming’s a lot, commitment-wise,” Godfrey said. “We always have one morning practice a week, we have two or three weight sessions a week, and every day after school, we have two or three hours of practice.”

Another challenging component of swimming is the competition. One of the key signs of improvement and success in swimming is dropping times in events at meets. When there is no improvement, it is easy for swimmers to feel disappointed, as they have spent hours in the pool and weight room and have had little improvement.

Godfrey admits that “dealing with not improving and losing is not always (her) strongest suit, (but) the coach, J-Max, is really good about making (the swimmers) improve and work hard.”

A lack of improvement can be a motivating factor for some, though. Scott Hodson (12) uses his lack of progress as inspiration to work harder.

“Losing doesn’t bother me much as long as I’m on par with the times I want to be at,” Hodson said. “If I don’t improve, there is usually a reason that my coach will have.”

The physically taxing workouts make swimming one of the hardest sports. Unlike other sports, swimming uses most of the main muscle groups in the body and involves endless repetitions; therefore, strength and endurance are necessary.

“There are the long, hard sets where you feel like you can’t do it and you get physically tired, and emotionally, you break down,” Rachel Lenardson (9) said.

Though some swimmers disagree on their views of swimming, Godfrey believes that the sport help her mentally and “lets (her) competitive nature out”. Although the topic can be controversial for a few swimmers, all can agree that swimming is beneficial in every way – physically and mentally. There are many key life skills that swimmers learn along the way.

“Sometimes things don’t go as planned, so you learn a lot about time management in that sense, as well as overcoming things and working harder, because if something doesn’t go right, you have to keep working at it,” Godfrey said.

Most non-swimmers do not understand how physically demanding the sport is, so it typically does not make the top of “most difficult sports” lists. However, because it comprises of arm, leg and core work, it is one of the most physical sports, and most swimmers are extremely physically fit from it.

“I think it is one of the best ways to keep your entire body healthy and strong,” Hodson said. “I like that I
burn enough calories that I can eat whatever I want.”

Contrary to the ideas of others, swimming can be very enjoyable. The team aspect, although it is unlike most sports because competition involves mostly individual events, is especially valuable.

“My teammates are the most wonderful people I have ever met in my life,” Lenardson said. “They are so encouraging and everyone is included in everything we do. No one feels left out and everyone gets the same opportunity.”

Swimming is one of the more overlooked sports at Homestead, but the team highlights the fun they have and the friendships they make during their many hours spent together.

“It’s a big family,” Godfrey said. “Everyone’s there for each other. It’s a great team to get into.”

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