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Girls from three different schools form bonds of friendship through swimming

By Salome Fogleman

Shivering, they pull on their swim caps and goggles as they prepare to jump into the cold water to start swimming the warm-up set. Imagine jumping into a cold pool after a long day at school and a twenty-minute bus ride. The girls on the high school swim team swim for two hours at the West Chicago High School every day except Sunday. A couple times a week, they also do strength training in the weight room. On these days, their practice lasts for three hours.

On most Saturdays, they have a swim meet. Standing at the edge of the pool, yelling “scoop” when someone is doing breaststroke, screaming and cheering for their teammates, they always support each other during meets. Swim meets include both individual events and relays. Dual meets usually last about one-and-a-half to two hours. Invitational meets usually last about three to five hours depending on the meet. Some swim meets are spread out over the course of two days. This may sound awful, but the community and bonds of friendship created makes it worthwhile.

“It’s fun meeting new people and getting faster each time you swim,” said Ava Heckenberg, a student at the Geneva High School. Since Batavia does not have a high school pool, students have to be bused to West Chicago Community High school for a two to three-hour practice. The swim team is a tri-op; it includes students from Batavia, Geneva, and West Chicago. The 2018 season is the first season to include all three schools. Before 2018, it was just a co-op with West Chicago and Batavia.

In most sports at Batavia, Geneva and Batavia are rivals, but not with the swim team. “I don’t really mind swimming with Geneva and West Chicago, and I enjoy it because it allows you to form bonds outside of your own school,” said Eden Sagarin, a Batavia student. “It’s also true that at the end of the day we are all one team so our schools shouldn’t make a very big difference.”

So far, the girls swim team has won many swim meets this season. They have not lost a dual meet, they finished second to Rosary High School at the Wildcat Invite, and they tied with Lincoln Way East High School at the Hinsdale South meet.

The swim team includes people of all skill levels. There are six lanes at the pool in West Chicago. Lane six is for the more advanced swimmers, and lane one is for beginners or for those who have not been swimming for very long. Although their skill levels vary, they all swim the four most common strokes. These include freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.

They also have many team bonding activities such as pasta parties. “I think they’re (pasta parties) great, and it’s a team bonding experience,” said Andi Bullman, a student at Batavia.

Pasta parties are held right after practice and are usually the day before a swim meet. As soon as practice ends, people start rushing to the locker room to hastily get dressed to head over to the party. Everyone crowds into the host’s house were they consume several sheet trays of pasta, vast quantities of garlic bread, several gallons of chocolate milk, and one or two jumbo bowls of sauce.

The swim season is starting to come to an end. The girl’s swim season lasts from mid-August to late October. The girls on the varsity team swim until mid-November so that they can train for the final sectional meet. The girl’s swim season lasts from mid-August to late October. The girls on the varsity team swim until mid-November so that they can train for the final sectional meet. For junior varsity, the last meet is the UEC conference meet which will be hosted at West Chicago High School on Oct. 27. During the last two weeks of the season, they go on taper. Taper is when they practice less, and rest more to prepare for their final meet.

As one team, they endure lengthy practices, stressful swim meets, and waking up early on Saturdays; this creates their strong bond of friendship and community.

“I like the community that the team has been able to form,” Sagarin said. “Even across different grade levels or schools it still feels like one group.”

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