Swim Team Wraps Up Short Season

Alleyna Pitaso, Sports Editor

The West Springfield High School Varsity Swim Team’s season finally began on January 11th after a month and a half delay due to COVID-19. While it was much shorter than usual, the team was glad that they were able to participate in their sport, which is something not every athlete can say.

“I do appreciate that we had a season. Even with all of the restrictions it is better to still be able to get into the water and work out with the team than it would be to have nothing at all,” said Meghan Pinter, one of the girls’ team captains. 

Regulations were put in place to keep everyone safe, but this made practices drastically different from previous years. The team was split into two groups that would practice for half the week. Practices started with stretches in the common area, and drylands (warm-up exercises) on the pool deck. They swam for 2.5 hours, with their coach having them swim twice as many yards to make up for lost time. Since the swimmers aren’t practicing together, they still did their best to maintain the feeling of being a team. Pinter explained that, “The captains created a Zoom drylands schedule for Mondays-Wednesdays to feel more like a team by all of us hanging out and doing drylands together to meet people from the other practice group.” 

This year’s Western Mass Regional Championship meet and State Championship meet were both cancelled but the team was able to maintain a competitive atmosphere by competing against teams in their division. However, they had to race against a team that they couldn’t even see. 

Members of the West Side Swim Team silently cheer on their teammate during a race. (Diana Toler)

“Meets are kind of weird this season since they are remote. We do not have any people in the stands and no other team is present,” Pinter explained. Instead, they swam against their own teammates and recorded their times. In past years, while their teammates were competing, the other swimmers would be lined up on the side of the pool screaming and cheering them on. This year, no cheering was allowed, so they had to settle for clapping. Audience members were allowed to watch the event through a livestream, but it didn’t feel the same as having a crowd to cheer on the swimmers. When the race was done, their times were uploaded online and compared to the other team’s times. From there, the points were added up to determine the winner of the meet. 

The girls team went 6-0 this year while the boys went 5-1, both only having a total of six meets. Although their season came to an end on February 27th, they were still able to see success and make lasting memories.