Boys Swim and Dive Team faces and adapts to challenges posed by COVID-19

The+Boys+Swim+and+Dive+Team+practices+look+different+due+to+COVID-19.

CONTRIBUTED BY ERIC ZHAO

The Boys Swim and Dive Team practices look different due to COVID-19.

The practices for the Boys Swim and Dive Team at school already look different: masks, no lockers, fewer showers and occasional Zoom workouts. However, things have changed even further with the temporary pause that was put on the season.

Currently, the team has 24 swimmers and can only have four people per lane to maintain social distance. During the pause, the team has done exercises over Zoom which last about 35 minutes since the team cannot have meetings in-person. The team has found creative ways to adjust and improve while their practice was put on pause.

Sophomore Fabian Ugalde, a swimmer on the team, said that although they have to follow these new rules for safety reasons, the experience of being on the team itself has been a fairly similar experience to previous years.

“They’re kind of different because you have to wear masks when you get out of the pool, but when you’re in the pool, it’s very similar to normal times without COVID-19, you just swim your laps,” Ugalde said.

Junior Eric Zhao, one of the captains of the team, said that although in-person competitions are not possible, the teams have worked around that problem by measuring their own times and later comparing them with schools.

“We don’t have swim meets, and we don’t go to other schools to go swimming. What’s going to happen is we will have a day where we just take our times, and then we just compare with the schools and see who has the faster times. We’ll have official judges to make sure that no one’s cheating,” Zhao said.

Both Zhao and Ugalde agree that taking a break from having real meets for a while will make it harder to go back to the pool, but it won’t take too long for the routine to go back to the normal state.

“It’ll be a little bit harder to get back into the pool, but it’s not going to take long to get back to normal,” Zhao said.

Ugalde explained that though the team was looking forward to and ready for the upcoming competitions, they understand that this temporary cancellation is crucial for the safety of students, staff and school environment.

“I don’t really like it because I was getting ready for the meetings and competitions that were coming up, so it was a bummer, but I’m looking forward to coming back,” Ugalde said.

Despite being temporarily put on pause, the swim and dive team still tries to keep the team spirit going. The team members said that the motivation for workouts is as alive as ever, even though most of the practices are through Zoom, and they are interacting through messages.

“We have a WhatsApp chat, and most of the time we just support each other there, send workouts and talk about what we can improve on and what we can do,” Ugalde said.

Senior Henry Brill, another swimmer on the team, said that the team doesn’t just support each other through this group chat, but also sends music as a way of motivating each other.

“We do workouts two times a week, Tuesdays and Fridays, we also make a playlist for when we have workouts,” Brill said.

As a captain, Zhao has worked hard to try and support the new team members. Zhao said that they know each other well, and are like a big supportive family.

“We try to organize workouts because we don’t swim on the weekends. We send it out to our teammates and help the less experienced swimmers to improve on their technique,” Zhao said. “We give them advice and if they need help with life, we’re there for them because we’re the captains. We know that the younger freshmen and sophomores look up to us.”

The sport being cancelled for a while has not stopped the team from being there for each other.

“I think people should join the swim team because it’s good exercise, it’s a good way to lose weight because you’re constantly moving and the water is cooling off your body so you can keep on working harder,” Zhao said. “I experienced this freshman year. I lost like five pounds during the season. I think it’s not very muscle intensive so you’re not going to get injured and the swim team is like family.”