Graduating and new beginnings

Seniors leaving the boys and girls swim teams, and the experiences of freshmen.


You walk into the room and you’re instantly hit with the sound of the crowd screaming and cheering, air horns blasting, and teammates cheering each other on. The coach’s red face comes into view along with the stands full of parents and spectators. The judges are sitting at the table, waiting

for a mistake. You can feel the adrenaline in your veins as you wait for the race to start. The horn goes off, the starters on the block jump off. The smell of chemicals and chlorine hit your nose as swiftly as the people diving into the water. This is what an East High School swim meet looks like.
When you go to a school swim meet you can see and feel the determination in all of the swimmers; whether its boys or girls, they have high goals for themselves that they strive to reach. Contrary to people’s beliefs, you don’t have to swim your whole life in order to be a good and dedicated swimmer. Some people have been swimming their whole lives, while others started in high school.
“I started swimming my sophomore year,” senior Gabe Ewert said, going into his first year of swim in tenth grade, Ewert barely even knew how to swim. For new swimmers is hard for them to learn all of the swimming strokes, and to make sure that their form is as good as it can possibly be.
There’s all different kinds of swimming skills on both swim teams, which overall makes the team stronger with new and old talent coming into the swim teams like freshman who are diving right in.
Freshman Alaya Blake has been swimming for 10 years.
“I’m the youngest so sometimes I needed some help,” Blake said.
This was the first year that Blake has swam for a high school team. Both the boys and girls team have a wide variety of talent whether it’s your experience in the sport, or the skill level of your strokes. Although the difference in skill level may cause some drama, the teams always get over it through their bonding whether it’s in the pool, or outside of practice.
“With girls, we have our drama but get along in the long run,” senior Mackenzie Prewitt said. “We do enough team bonding, it makes us become closer, better as a team, and a little friendlier.”
Most teams go to practice and only hang out with certain friends they have on the team. But with the swim teams, both the guys and girls try their hardest to involve everyone, and although sometimes they can’t find the time to get together outside of practice, there is plenty of time to bond in practice.
“Being with the team 10 practices a week is enough team bonding,” Ewert said.
And although that seems like a lot of time in the water, you can see the emotion on the swimmers faces when they have won a race or accomplished one of their goals.
“A goal I set for myself going into my first-year swimming in high school was to swim my best,” freshman Emma Luft said. She has been swimming for three years, this is her first-year swimming in high school. Although Luft isn’t new to the sport, she still has goals to set for herself like everyone else.
“I want to reach a 28-29 second 50 free, 1:10 100 free, cut a few seconds in 100 fly, and make Varsity,” freshman Cody Vansylalom said.
Even though most people set their own goals for themselves, they all can range in different varieties, whether it is to drop your time, or go all the way to state.
“My goal going into high school swimming was just to learn how to swim, and now my goal is to make it to state as an alternative or on a relay if I’m good enough,” senior Chris Trevino said. Everyone has different goals for themselves, but all of them involve the same thing, getting better. “I feel like I mainly accomplished my goals. I got a varsity letter for swimming, and I’m trying to go to state this year, but I made it to districts last year,” Trevino added.
Even if the goals swimmers set are big or small, all of them can be achieved. Even though at some point it might take more time than they originally hoped.
“I don’t feel it yet but I know I can reach my goals by working hard,” Vansylalom said.
Even with all the progress the teams make, there is still some hard practices and meets yet to come. All of the practices are going towards getting all of the swimmers ready for all of the swim meets and reaching their highest potential in swimming. Though for most it’s just the start of their journey for the team. But for some, it’s the end of their high school years.
“I feel like I’m ready to leave the team as a senior. Even though swimming is fun, some practices are really long and hard, I try my best not to complain but I can’t help but do it sometimes on my bad days,” Trevino said. “Overall it will be bitter sweet when the last swim meet comes,” Trevino adds.
Most seniors are ready to leave, but know it will be a little hard to do when the time comes.
“I’m not ready to leave, I still feel like a sophomore,” senior Zane Pettis said.
Although there is always a time to come when the seniors have to leave the team, they aren’t always 100 percent ready, and neither are all of the people on the swim team with them.
“It’s going to be different without them, some of them really helped me, and since I’m the youngest on the team, when the seniors leave it will be a weird adjustment,” Blake said.
Because the teams have such strong bonds, it will be hard to see some of them move on and see the end of their season come so soon.
“Most of the seniors are pretty good and it will hurt the team a little when they leave,” freshman Andrew Lien said.
Although the seniors leaving will hurt the team a little emotionally, it will affect their swim meets. Some seniors hold school records in some events, and once they leave, all of the others will have to work hard in order to maintain those records and to keep the team at top shape. And although every year the circle of swimmers coming and going comes around again, there’s always advice that everyone can take away from the whole experience.
“Even though swimming is hard work, it’s worth it. The sport it’s a healthy sport, puts you in shape, and because you’re in shape you can almost eat whatever you want,” Prewitt said.
Sometimes you just have to focus on the little things that keep you motivated. And with your teammates you know they have your back, and you all can watch each other get better together, and always remember,
“Anything you think isn’t possible, is possible,” Pettis said.