Swim team dives into early morning routine

New coach challenges swimmers to improve

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Swim team dives into early morning routine

Maggie McDonald, Editor

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The smell of chlorine fills the lungs of the swim-capped, goggled athletes. The ticking of the stopwatch echoes incessantly in their brains as they cut through the edge of the pool. Swimmers stretch their lean bodies and take deep breaths, focusing on the bright, colorful flags lining the ceiling as they warm up for their events. Junior Dawson Stevens shares his typical swim meet experience: “It’s just such a great feeling to finish an event and see any improvements you’ve made,”.

Stevens has been competing on the Har-Ber swim team for two years now, and he competes in the 500 free, 200 IM  (intermediate medley), which is composed of various strokes, including the fly, back, breast, and free, and the 100 fly. The team practices every morning from 7 to 8 a.m. in order to prepare for their weekly meets and make sure the team stays in shape.

“I really like our coach. He critiques me, and my coach at Springdale never gave me tips or told me how to get better. Our coach really wants us to do the best that we can at our strokes,” Sophomore Alexia Brito elaborates when asked to describe more in depth of the goal of their practices.

Brito has been a swimmer since first grade, and she has competed on four swim teams: the Aquahawgs, Springdale High School swim team, the Fayetteville Athletic Club sharks, and the Har-Ber Swim team. Brito competes in the 100 breaststroke and the 100 IMs. As a sophomore, Brito describes her role on the team: “We try to pull the team along cause it’s still very small. No matter what, we just try our best to support everyone else,”.

This support is very crucial as any negativity will delay not only getting faster times, but also cultivating a positive environment that’s enjoyable for all swimmers.

Stevens describes this uplifting, encouraging atmosphere in a very positive light. “Students have taken leadership roles very seriously and the environment is like a family,” he explains.

As the teammates go throughout their high school years, they gain an increasing sense of responsibility as they help establish their role on the team and their balance with everyone else.  Even as sophomores, there’s a specific role that must be taken.

Senior Caitlynn Young relays that “On the team, a lot of people call me the “Swim Mom” cause I kind of take care of everybody. That’s been my role since sophomore year,” when asked about her role as a senior and how that’s changed throughout her years on the Har-Ber swim team.

Young has been a swimmer since she was in 9th grade, and has been swimming for 4 years on HBHS team. Although she prefers the 50 free or 100 breaststroke, she’s always making sure she swims the events that her team needs her to swim.

“My favorite aspect of the team is the people I’ve met and how sweet they are to me. A lot of people have quit this year, but we’re staying strong and everyone’s really close-knit and tight,” Brito describes of her team and teammates.

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Swim team dives into early morning routine