We have now reached the end of a wonderful swimming season, and the swimmers worked really hard to achieve their goal. Since they managed to not get quarantined as a group, they must have followed the precautions rather well. 

I have interviewed three people from each grade level to see what they thought of the new swim season, and how it affected their swim season.

First I interviewed Ammee Uggen, a freshman. I asked her if she enjoyed her first year of varsity swimming, and she said, “It was fun, but it was more difficult than swimming in middle school.” 

I asked her what strokes she was interested in, and she answered, “I am interested in breaststroke and freestyle.” When practicing for breaststroke, you need to go off the blocks in an average position (breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle have the same start position), then you pull your arms backwards, tuck them in, put your hands together, and pull out. Instead of doing a regular flip turn, you grab the wall, quickly turn yourself, and go again. When doing freestyle, you start like how you do breaststroke. When you are in the water, you pull your arm up while one is dragging underwater, then you pull the one underwater up, and the one up down in a pattern. When doing flip turns, you get close to the wall and do a front flip, turn around, and push off the wall. 

I then asked her if she enjoyed how the practices were set up, and she answered, “Yes I do like how they were set up, but I do wish that there were more variations in the things we do during that time.” 

After this, I asked her what precautions they had to follow, and she answered, “I don’t really know specific ones, but they were all the basic ones.” Basic precautions are things like social distancing, minimum people in a lane at once, wearing your mask at meets, and you can’t practice if you have any symptoms of the virus.

Next, I asked if she liked how the meets were set up, and she said, “Yes, they were pretty efficient.” Not much changed in the meets, except you had to wear your mask and distance yourself from other people, but that is just the bare minimum, and people seem to be getting pretty used to it as the virus continues its spread.

Finally, I asked her if there was anything about the precautions that she didn’t like or something that could be changed in the future, and she responded, “There is actually, I did not like the strict guidelines and the distancing, but of course I still did my best to follow the rules.”

Next, I interviewed Patrick Torres, a freshman from male varsity swimming. I asked him the same questions as Ammee.

I asked him if he liked his first year of varsity swimming and he answered, “It was different from the seasons back in middle school, but it was better than I thought it would be, even though I do miss the old seasons very much.” There is a middle school swim team for 6th-8th graders who are interested in it, but they did just start their season.

Next, I asked Patrick what his strokes were, and how much he enjoyed it, and he answered, “I was only in freestyle, but overall, I did enjoy it, and I feel like I am getting better at it as I make progress throughout the season.” The swim teams do seem to get better as the season goes on, considering when the male swim team had their meet in Jay County on February 18th to see who qualified for sectionals, they ended up getting second place, out of the many schools that participated.

I asked him if he liked how the practices were set up, and he answered, “I guess I kind of liked how they were set up, but I think a lot could be improved for the swimmers. I really did not like how we had practice every day except for Sunday. I felt like we should have had at least a day off from practice every week to relax.” The swimmers only have swim meets on Tuesday and Thursday. The other days were for practice only, and they practiced mostly every day. 

The next question I asked Patrick was about what precautions the swimmers had to follow, and he answered, “The only precautions we had to follow were just the basic ones, the ones that everyone is mostly getting used to following. We of course have to wear masks whenever we travel to different schools for meets, and we had to social distance at practice and meets both. There were also only a certain amount of people allowed in a lane at a time.” 

I asked him if he liked how the meets were set up, and he answered, “Yes I did like them, they weren’t much different than it always was, except that we had to wear masks and social distance. That’s pretty understandable though considering it helps prevent the spread of the virus, and they are just precautions that we are going to have to get used to because we do not know how long the pandemic is going to last.” The swim team was not quarantined throughout the whole season, as a group. That’s why we ask these questions so we can possibly share the same precautions with other sports teams.

Finally, I asked him if there was anything he did not like about the guidelines and he responded, “I was not a fan of the setup, but only because of the Coronavirus. As much as I do not like it, I just deal with it because we need to learn how to get used to it. We have no idea when it is going away, so we might as well just take precautions very seriously, so it helps the virus go away, and we can go back to normal again.”

I asked Lance how he felt about leaving the high school, and he answered, “I really enjoyed going to Blackford, but I am sad that I am going to have to leave this place because I have been here my whole life, and I am going to miss most of my teammates. I am going to have to learn to adjust to the changes though because there is nothing I can really do about it.” A lot of the seniors are not very happy with leaving the high school because a lot of them have been going to Blackford for the whole/most of their school career. 

Next question I asked Lance was if he had enjoyed his last season of swimming, and he answered, “I did enjoy my last season, and as a matter of fact, I am pretty sure this was one of the best seasons I have ever experienced. I feel like I did a lot better than I have ever done throughout my years of being on the team. I also think that a lot of people on our team improved a lot this season, not just me. The swim team was closer as a team as we have ever been, and the fact that we broke a lot of records this season can definitely prove that.” The swim team thought that this was one of the best seasons, even with the virus going around. They were never quarantined as a group, so they definitely were careful with these precautions so they would not have to shut down for any time of the season. They put effort into many things when it comes to challenges, and they do anything to complete them.

I asked Lance what strokes he did for his last year on the team, and he answered, “Throughout my experience on the swim team, I did all of the strokes in the past years, and I succeeded in them all. The stroke I mainly worked on this year was breaststroke, and I would say that I am getting pretty good at it.” The swim team has put, as I said before, very good effort into this year, especially considering that many records were broken. A lot of swimmers have improved a lot this year, and it is really starting to show!

After this, I asked Lance about the precautions. I asked him if he liked how the practices were set up, and he answered, “I wish the practices were longer, but I did enjoy the intensity and effort we put into them. I really also enjoyed the new paper workouts that they introduced this season because they would easily show you what the people in your lane need to do. They helped us a lot because you pushed yourself  whenever you wanted to, and it made it a lot easier and funner.” The swim team had to reduce their time practicing due to Covid, and the swim team was not very happy with it, but they still made do with the time they had left. Paper workouts are papers that are stuck to a wet backboard, and show the swimmers what to do. They have different kinds of workouts, but they always start with a warm-up, and end in a cool down. Since this season has been known as the best season, according to the team, the paper workouts definitely helped motivate them more and made the swimmers improve by a lot.

Next, I asked Lance if he was satisfied with the new precautions, and he answered, “We didn’t necessarily have what people called ‘precautions,” but we did have to follow some little basic things to prevent Covid. We had to wear masks and social distance at meets, and only a certain amount of people were allowed in a lane at a time.” Only certain people were usually allowed in a lane at a time so the swimmers could social distance, but still be able to practice. Either way, the swimmers clearly tend to make do, and a great effort into their season, even if these precautions were not necessary. 

The next question I asked Lance was if he liked how the meets were set up, and he answered, “It was definitely different from any other season because Covid was never a serious problem last season. I did like the set up though, I liked swimming next to the other teams more than anyone on my team. I also enjoyed the effort people would put into the meets because you would be pushed by your own teammates to do your best. My teammates always inspired each other, and would always push each other to do better. This season was better than any other one for this particular reason.” The swimmers are always there for each other, and they are always willing to help each other do better and achieve their goals. They are always open to give you advice, and to show you what things you need to improve on, and they will help you improve those things for the future. The swim team is not only just a team, they are all great friends to each other, and are always talking to each other about advice, or what their goals are for the rest of the season, or for the future.

Finally, I asked Lance if there was anything he did not like about the swim season, and he answered, “I did not enjoy how we did not swim much as a team due to Covid because we were always so distant from each other. I guess this is not as different as it always was because we couldn’t interact with the other teams because of the virus. Before this all happened, we never actually interacted with the other teams that much, we only did occasionally when we were all crammed in a locker room and stuff like that.” 

In conclusion, the season went very well for the swimmers. The team was never quarantined as a group, and they were able to complete a full, and successful season. They put a lot of effort into this season, and it is clear that they have improved a lot. They hope that the team keeps the same energy for next season, and maybe it will be even better. I hope you have a good day/night, Blackford, and thank you for reading!