The Season of Swimming
February 3, 2017
Filed under Sports
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This time of year marks the beginning of the period when the hallways fill with the unmistakable aroma of chlorine and first period classrooms are crowded with students still drying off from their morning swim. These are all signs that swim season is in full stroke.
Daily life for a swimmer prior to the swim season includes light physical training, consisting of jogging and lifting. On the other side of the spectrum is the mentality that swimming requires and this too needs preseason preparations. These brain boosters include early alarm clocks and pep-talks to get out of bed in the morning in order to be ready for the before school practices. Through these activities, swimmers are able to partake in self-created workouts and prepare their minds for the loss of sleep caused by early morning practices. The seniors on the team have years of experience with these activities and have become accustomed to waking up before the sun to get to school.
“At this point, I feel indifferent about the early morning practices. I always dreaded them but now I am used to getting to school so early,” said senior Michael Kehm.
While there are seasoned seniors on the swim team, there are also younger athletes that have less experience with the demands of swimming.
“Even though I am only a sophomore, and have yet to experience many years of early chlorine filled mornings, I have already gotten used to being up so early,” said sophomore Devon Milley. “It gives us quality time together as team and we make the most of the two then three days a week where we spend our mornings at the pool.”
These early mornings help prepare the team for the season ahead. Each meet is made up of a multitude of events including the 200M relay, 200M freestyle, 50M freestyle, 100M fly, 200M freestyle relay, 500M freestyle relay, 100M breaststroke, 100 M backstroke, and 400 M freestyle relay.
When it comes time for swimmers to take their marks in any of these events, their toughest competitor has proven to be Upper St. Clair. The USC Panthers achieved the WPIAL title for girls and boys swimming from 2011 to 2014, and their girls team obtained the title once more in 2015. Peters Township did not claim the section title within those years; however, they qualified for WPIAL playoffs through each of them and plan to keep battling with their section rival.
“Our meets with USC are always competitive. They offer us great competition and it is always fun to see who will come out on top,” stated senior Kelly Bergman.
The process of all of these meets can take a toll on the bodies of the swimmers. Through repetitive chlorine exposure, many athletes are left with dry skin, tangley or straw-like hair, and even loss of hair. However, athletes of this sport are also left in top physical condition from the constant practices and the demanding physical activity.
“Even though my hair gets a little funky through the season, I always love how the sport brings my abs back from the off season. I can always look forward to feeling and looking more in shape from swimming so much,” said Bergman.
Swimming is a team sport in which individuals rely on each other to meet a common goal. This factor provides companionship and friendships that blossom from the daily practice and joint struggle of always smelling like chlorine.
“Getting to see my friends’ everyday has been my favorite part of swimming. This sport has brought me so many friendships that I can carry over into the off season,” stated senior Mitchell Golias.