Swimming: The varsity sport no one knows about


courtesy of Heather Rogers

Heather Rogers does breastroke.

by Katie Roach, Reporter

With students lining up to register for winter sports, and just as many showing off their talent at tryouts, rosters fill up pretty quickly. One team sport that anyone can tryout for with no cuts is swimming. Swimming is the best sport for students who want to be on a team.

Usually the LHS team has a small, close-knit group of 10-20 swimmers and divers.  When a team is small, it’s difficult to cover all of the individual swimming events with depth. That means that although LHS may place low on the overall points, individual students can be very successful. Last year, then sophomore Jessica Buntman won “Best Diver in the State” at the state diving meet.

Swimming for the local MAC (Monocacy Aquatics Club–a more competitive team) or the high school team has plenty of benefits and few negatives.

One benefit is not having to compete to try out. For most athletes, this is the most stressful part of the whole process. With swimming, all of that stress is eliminated and everyone can make the team.

High school swimming is a commitment, like any other sport, practices and meets. In a week, there are two meets, in addition to five or six practices, which last an hour to an hour and a half. Practices and meets are most always at Walkersville and Middletown.

One downfall is that the swim season is in the winter; getting out of the pool and being cold and wet is definitely a test for commitment .

You would think that there would be more people who want to sign up for a sport with no cuts. Many swimmers who also do club would also swim for the high school team, but each coach is looking for commitment, and it’s not possible to be effective at both.  

High school coach Jeana Panarella has enforced many rules regarding the swimmers who also do club. One rule is that the swimmers need to attend at least 80%  of the practices to stay on the team.  She is trying to even out the playing field with no ringers.

College scouts are looking for swimmers every year to be assets to their team and to give out thousands of dollars in scholarship money to the best athletes. These scholarships result in getting even better, staying in shape, and playing a sport that you can continue to do for as long as you want. When they get out of college, swimmers often have the choice to practice with their old club team with their masters program. Swimming is a lifelong sport. 

Don Feinberg, a coach for MAC and Hood College, says that he and other coaches at Hood College are always on the lookout for talented swimmers and ready to give scholarships. The very best students in club and high school are recruited.  He said, “The results that we look at would be from the High School State Championship meet.”

Feinberg said that high school swim affects the way that college coaches out of state look at the athlete. “For some of the other states, high school swimming is a bigger priority,” he said.   States like Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania rely on high school swim for results.