Swimming to success

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Photo courtesy of: Ron Reblando

Barry Bates, ‘21, swims butterfly at a meet at WHHS. Bates honed the skill at practice. “Swimming really depends on how much the swimmer wants to get out of practices ... but all comes together with the team in the end too,” Sakura Adachi, ‘23, said.

Every winter, WHHS swimming strives to train at the highest level possible to increase their athletes’ ability to advance to new heights.
The team trains six days a week, each practice usually following the format of a warmup set, a preset or drill set, a main set, and a warmdown set. One day a week, they have dry land, when they condition out of the water, at 6 a.m.
Swimming is a physically challenging sport, but the mental strain is also present.
“The hardest part about swimming is trying to get in the right mindset before my races. It is physically challenging, but also when you are not having the best races, it’s hard to try to stay positive for your next race which might be in a couple of minutes,” Sakura Adachi, ‘23, said.
SENIOR Noah Stafford also thinks that motivation is the most difficult component of the sport.
Stafford alludes to the fact that although he is technically on a team, unlike other sports, his individual performance is not completely dependent on the team’s winnings.
Therefore, the challenge lies within his own self-motivation.
“You’ve got to find a way to force yourself to keep going, keep practicing, keep improving,” Stafford said.

You’ve got to find a way to force yourself to keep going, keep practicing, keep improving”

— SENIOR Noah Stafford

Stafford, however, also takes into account the physical pain swimming causes. He uses that as an incentive to continue swimming every year, and he believes pain builds character.
Many swimmers have the challenging task of trying to accomplish their individual goals while contributing their best effort to relays or just cheering for their team in general.
“Getting cheered for, is one of the best feelings at a meet, so I think everyone needs to experience that,” Adachi said.
Stafford additionally points out that “the spirit of the team as a whole has an undeniable impact on swims and motivation.”
He notes that having the same teammates who he suffered with in practice screaming beside him at meets makes a huge difference on effort and motivation.
SENIOR Audrey Warren’s “passion grows for the sport when the team shows passion for it as well.”
As a SENIOR, Warren speaks from experience. She enjoys leading team cheers, and her favorite part about swimming is having friends all around her.

Simultaneously to strenuous practices, WHHS teachers pack on loads of homework. Many swimmers speak for all student athletes when they struggle to balance activities, school and sleep.
Stafford productively uses his study hall to get homework out of the way before practice so it does not interfere with his sleep which is “essential for good swims.”
Like other athletics, setting goals is vital to improvement.

Getting cheered for, is one of the best feelings at a meet, so I think everyone needs to experience that”

— Sakura Adachi, '23

Goals of WHHS swimmers range from dropping one second off an event for Warren to swimming at the collegiate level for Stanford-bound SENIOR Aaron Sequeira.
For Phoebe Wright, ’22, her goals are to make high school states again, and to make finals at states. Wright has been swimming since the age of five and she currently holds several school records.
Many student swimmers at WHHS have been swimming from a very young age.
For Adachi, her love for the pool was sparked at the age of eight. Adachi began to swim competitively at age ten, and has continued ever since.
She recently suffered a knee injury, but after surgery, she continues swimming merely because she enjoys the sport and being surrounded by great team mates. Adachi swims year round with the Cincinnati Marlins.
Many swimmers take the season seriously, but that is not to say there is no room for fun.
They have had several pre-meet events at the school, like a movie night and dinner.
The team had six WHHS dual meets, the Southwest Classics meet, which is the biggest high school meet in the country, and ECC Swim Championships.
The next step for the team is Sectionals, within which the top 32 swimmers in Southwest Ohio advance to Districts.
The top 24 swimmers in Districts go to the States. The team looks forward to continuing their season.