Trying a New Sport: Swim Team

Reflections by Ethan Vicks ('22)

At the end of my freshman year, I decided that I would force myself to do a Spring sport since I hadn’t done any other sports the whole year. I did not know what sport I would choose out of Boys Golf, Boys and Girls Track and Field and Boys and Girls Swimming. For a while I thought that I was going to join the golf team because it seemed to be the least amount of work. Surprisingly, my last pick was the Swim Team behind the Track Team because I had never swam before. It was getting close to the time by which I needed to decide, and I still wasn’t fully sure what sport I would do soon. 

An Impulsive Decision
At a town meeting where they announced the sign ups for Boys and Girls Swimming, my friend and I impulsively decided to join the swim team. It just seemed like the best sport at the time of the meeting because I knew that I would have someone else on the team who was inexperienced like me. When I got home that day, I began to regret my decision because I totally didn’t think about how hard it would be and what it would be like to actually compete against other people. 

First Practice
When the day of the first swim practice arrived, I was very nervous because I had no idea how it would go. Although I was nervous, I was excited when I found out that a few of my other friends were on the swim team who had also never swam before. When the time came for the first practice, I met the coach of the Swim Team, an alumna named Morgan Johnston ('15), who was a senior at UNR last year. 

Coach Morgan
One of the reasons my swim experience was so much fun was because Morgan was such a fun, chill and good coach. Meeting Morgan made me a lot less nervous because I knew that even if I sucked, which I did, she would not punish me and make my life miserable. We then left the school to make the pretty long trip to Carson City where we had practice every day. I did not mind the 30-45 minute van ride at all, and in fact it became my favorite part of swim practice. The best part was when Morgan would let us go to Starbucks after practice. I bonded so much with my fellow teammates every commute to practice and back. 

Diving Into the Unknown
When we actually had to get in the pool, I immediately realized that I was not good at all. I cried internally when I found out that there was such a thing called a flip turn that you do every time you reach the end of the lane. I had also forgotten about the concept of diving and how you have to do it every time you enter the pool. Not only did I have to worry about drowning, I also had to worry about turning and entering the pool. With all this newfound knowledge, I was really intimidated and scared. 

Luckily I was not alone, there was a small group of kids in my grade who also just started and were equally scared and intimidated. We got our own lane, which would eventually be called the “Slow Kid Lane” because, well, we were slow. Even though we were in the slower lane, we still worked very hard at our endurance, flip turns -- which took us a while to master -- and our dives. Through this hard work, practice became super fun and the highlight of my day each day. 

Unfortunately going to practice was not the only thing we had to do, we also had to compete in swim meets on the weekends. The actual swimming part was not very hard compared to practice, but the anticipation was terrible. Standing on the pedestal waiting to dive is probably the most nerve wracking thing I have ever done. One of the best feelings in the world was knowing that you have no more events at the swim meet, so you can relax. At the end of each swim meet, even though I did not win a single heat, I felt accomplished for improving and finishing.

Achieving Improvement & Confidence
I ended up not qualifying for regionals, but I did improve a lot and had a lot of fun. I was awarded Most Improved which was a great way to end the season. I look back at my swim experience with a lot of joy. I am proud of myself for trying a new sport. I think that swimming was the perfect sport to try because it is an individual sport, so no one is counting on you to perform well, making it less disappointing when you lose. I would definitely recommend joining the Swim Team or to try a sport you have never played because it’s a chance to join something you would otherwise never try. 

Comprised of 15 student athletes, the 2019 Sage Ridge School Girls and Boys Swim team finished 3rd in the regional meet, including three regional championship individual wins. Ten swimmers with qualifying times went on to compete in the state championships. In the state meet, the Sage Ridge swim team finished 3rd once again, led deftly by Maddy Lewis ('20), who won a remarkable 3rd consecutive individual state title in the 100 yard breaststroke.

The hallmark of the season was the team's recognition as the NIAA Spring Season State Academic Team Champions for both girls and boys swimming & diving, having the highest grade point average among the competitors. 


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