Walking into the pool deck, you inhale the scent of chlorine. Looking up at the stands you can see family, friends, and peers. Here come the nerves. When your race finally starts, you dive in and hear only the faint screams of the crowd when your head emerges from the water for a breath. The image of the clock on the wall with its red letters counting the seconds that pass haunts you. This is how the lady knights feel on the evenings of their swim meets.
This year, the season began with only thirteen girls, but as school started about fifteen more girls joined the team. There are seventeen new swimmers this year and there is also a foreign exchange student from Spain on the team.
According to Coach Paul Mahar, “It has been a wonderful season of growth. The girls shined on a more difficult day, coming in second place out of seven teams at the Battle Creek invitational.”
Mahar said that the past two years have been some of his best years as a coach because of the teams determined attitude and motivation. Mahar has learned that there is tremendous value in teaching a child how to swim and coaching them through stressful situations.
To Coach Mahar, swimming is more of a mental sport than a physical sport. How could a ten-year-old girl beat a seventeen-year-old boy? If you believe in your mind that you can succeed then you will.
“I will never forget the bond that the team shared,” said Amara Fink, a senior swimmer.
Fink has enjoyed becoming a leader on the team and she has learned that even though swimming can be difficult at times, the end of the journey is well worth it. She has come a long way since she started her swimming career at Norrix three years ago because of her hard work and dedication. In Amara’s 100 freestyle swim, her time improved from 1.04 minutes to 59 seconds.
Some lady knights have a lot on their plate. Melissa Commissaris, a junior, described how difficult it can be to balance school, a job, and be a member of a team at the same time.
“I struggle to balance homework, swim, and my job. Right after practice I have to go to work until 10 p.m. on some nights and then I have no time for homework because I’m so exhausted,” said Commissaris.
It is an amazing moment when a swimmer beats their time and reaches their goal that they have been working so hard for. Isabella Valdez was in awe when she came in first place in the 500-meter swim, which is the longest race, and dropped six seconds from her original time.
“When I made it into lane one I felt accomplished and really fast,” said Valdez.
“To be a great swimmer you need not only physical strength, you need to be able to use your mind to push yourself to the absolute limit,” Commissaris said.