Swimming has been called the perfect exercise. After all, you can get all of the benefits of an aerobic workout without any damaging impact on joints, and it can be done by both the very old and the very young.
Samantha Hogan is a sophomore at Loy Norrix High School who has loved swimming her whole life. For about six years now she has swam competitively for a club team in addition to the high school team. Many swimmers describe their high school season as their favorite part of swimming, waking up at five to go to an early morning practice and then staying after school for a later practice.
“Swimming is draining, but getting out of practice exhausted is one of the best feelings,” said sophomore Hogan. From early August to late November Samantha’s life is taken over by her swim career, eating nothing but pasta, fruits, and vegetables. Her days mainly consist of swimming, school, and sleep. All of her hard work and dedication had paid off and she made it to states for the 400 meter freestyle relay.
Wikipedia reports that “Freestyle Swimming” is a sport, “in which competitors are subject to limited restrictions on their swimming stroke. Freestyle races are the most common of all swimming competitions, with distances beginning with 50 meters (50 yards) and reaching 1500 meters (1650 yards), also known as the mile. It is now the most common stroke used in freestyle competitions.”
“When you put so much time and effort into something you’re very passionate about, it eventually changes your life,” said Hogan.
For about two weeks the Loy Norrix Ladies Swim Team had extra practices to keep them in shape and mentally prepare them for what was going to take place. On November 22nd, ten swimmers started their journey towards Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Prelims were Friday, November 23, 2019 and every competitor was tense and excited. Prelims are the portion of a competition that determines which swimmers qualify for the championship and consolation finals in the events.
“Walking into the pool was really scary at first, there were so many girls, and not the typical 5’5 petite girls, but 5’10 girls with a lot of muscle and confidence which actually made it very intimidating,” said Hogan.
Samantha had been to so many pools in her life but this one was the biggest by far, with so many things to look at too, like record boards and conference champ banners, overall it was just outstanding.
Samantha and her relay team came close to winning that meet but lost by a few seconds and overall placed 20th. “Getting to that moment was definitely the best feeling I’ve ever had,” said Hogan.
Saying goodbye to what had become a family was one of the hardest things about the season ending.
“The bonds that you form in swimming are incomparable to anything else,” said Hogan.