Swim Team Prepares for Competition Season


Photo by Caroline Schlieker

The swim team meets daily at the Debbie Weems Natatorium before school.

Connor Whitfill, Staff Writer

At 5 a.m., the bright lights reflect off the calm surface of the pool. All the swimmers begin to line up behind the lanes, distinguished by their blue and yellow lane ropes. Coach Nicholas Johnson switches on the giant speaker and it begins to blare Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.”

As soon as Coach Johnson waves his hand, the warm-up set begins. Senior Kathleen Rose dives into the water followed by many other swimmers. At once, the water erupts into hundreds of waves and the natatorium becomes filled with the sound of splashes. A few minutes after the workout begins, senior Max Koceich rushes over to his lane to join the other swimmers. With zero hesitation, Koceich leaps into the water which shoots a jet of water into the air.

The team finishes the exercise with plenty of energy and begins to prepare for the next drill. Each swimmer pulls out their colorful kickboard, a miniature boogie board that swimmers use for kick drills. Once the kick drill begins, the swimmers kick at a leisurely pace and their heads bob with each kick. After a certain distance, they all transition into a faster-paced freestyle stroke. After a few rounds, the song, “Hungry like the Wolf” by Duran Duran, begins to play from the speaker. The song brings a smile to Rose’s face. 

“Oh, slay,” Rose said.

As the drill continues, senior Robi Hablo begins to slow down and wishes the set would end. Rose reassures her the workout would be over soon. 

“I thought we would have been done by now,” Hablo said. 

The workout eventually ends and the drained swimmers begin to float toward the other side of the pool where they can practice their dive starts. The swimmers divide themselves into groups of four based on their skill level. Once a group makes their way onto the blue dive blocks, Coach Johnson blows two distinct whistles. The first one signals the swimmers to take their position on the blocks. The second whistle gives swimmers the signal to dive.

While he observes the dive starts, Coach Johnson sings “Eye of the Tiger” to entertain himself. Meanwhile, senior Jackson Stapleton and Diego Diaz swim at a slow pace in a thinner lane to cool themselves off before their dive starts.

Most of the swimmers walk on the moist pavement to get to the other side of the pool once the dive starts end. After they all review the whiteboard, the swimmers begin to slip on their fins for the next drill. The pace clock strikes zero and the swimmers begin to glide through the water. 

The sun begins to shine through the windows which tint the glass a cool blue color. One by one, the swimmers finish their final workout and the noise of splashes begins to fade away. Koceich and many of the other swimmers finish their practice with a slow stretch to relax their tense muscles. 

The varsity swim team will continue to do these practices to prepare for their district meets.