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What To Expect From High School Swimming

Updated: May 19, 2021

It is January, meaning the season for high school swimming is reaching its end. This also means that it is nearing the end of my first ever high school season in the sport, and I can say that in only six months swimming for Saginaw High School, I have learned quite a lot. From life lessons to the atmosphere of high school meets, and the most hilarious things I get asked, here is everything that I have learned so far.

The first and foremost difference between swimming for a club and swimming for a school is the atmosphere of meets, and the amount. In club, you usually will have one, maybe two meets in a month, but swimming is no different then other high school sports, meaning we will have multiple meets in a month, and usually will be weekends in a row. Just look at how close our district and regional meets are, we barely have two weeks between them. But aside from that, the energy is certainly different. Because walking into a high school meet is team spirit galore. Especially my team, we show team spirit in any way possible, from making signs for each other, making team banners, and having our whole team of twenty people cheer for one or person swimming the 500.

You’re going to start hearing a very receptive question- “Wait, our school has a swim team?”. It feels like I have been asked this question more times than I have been asked my name. I’ve been asked by nearly half of my teachers, track runners, members of both the varsity and JV football team, people from just about every single other sport. If you are planning on joining your high school swim team, I’m just telling you be prepared to hear this question a lot. Like, a lot. Not to mention, the swim team gets very little to no recognition. Seriously, our football team can win one game, and they get a whole pep rally. The swim team advances nearly every single person on the team to regionals and were lucky to get a handshake from the athletic director. But, that doesn’t stop us from doing just about anything we can to get recognition, anything from the homecoming carnival to Christmas tree décor.

Practices are going to be much different. More often then not, most high school coaches really do not have much prior experience in the sport, so the practices differ greatly from club practices. In general, the intensity is much, much lower, and there isn’t much one-on-one coaching going on, and usually not many technique corrections. This makes it so easy to spot club swimmers at meets.

Speaking of club swimmers at meets, if you swim for a club and then to high school, you are likely to see your club friends also representing their high school. But that also means they are competing against you, maybe even in your best events. It’s always kind of funny because you’ve probably been training together for years, and then your teams end up facing off. At meets I often see a couple of my club team mates on my schools’ rival team. But at the recent district championship swim meet, me and one of my good friends, a senior at Azle high school were seeded 2nd and 3rd in the 100 butterfly. Her and I have been training together for as long as I can remember, and we actually did pacing in the lanes next to each other earlier that week in practice. At the end of the race, we both ended up on the podium, finishing first and second in that event. When we were both on top of the podium, we just looked at each other, and kind of laughed while shaking our heads, because swimming in school brings you together in the best ways.

In conclusion, if you are planning on swimming in high school as a club swimmer, it will be an experience that is amazing, and you will make lifelong friends and memories.

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