A swimmer’s opinion on the high school girls’ swim team


Photo courtesy of Sydney Landsverk

The girls’ swim team getting pumped up before a meet.

Sarah Lange, Contributor


The cheers echo off the walls of the pool deck. It’s the varsity heat of the 400 freestyle relay, the last race of the meet, when four girls on every relay team swim one hundred meters each. The last swimmer on each relay is closing into the finish, Appleton North in one lane, Oshkosh West in the other, neck and neck, each straining to gain an advantage. The coaches for Appleton North, Jamie Schnurer and Ruthe Zimmerman, are jumping up and down and yelling for the swimmer to “GOOOO!”.
North touches first. The pool explodes into cheers somehow louder than they were a minute ago. Both teams line up in good spirits to give high fives.
Swimming is thought of as an individual sport. When people watch the Olympics on TV, Olympians usually swim their races alone and come together once to swim a relay, but in a school swim season, that isn’t the case at all. On the Appleton North swim team, we all support each other, whether that means cheering at the end of lanes, helping each other through a hard practice, or just chatting with someone when they’ve had a bad day.
I got into swimming when I was eight as a last resort. I had tried tee ball and soccer, but I quickly realized that anything with running was off the table. Being the sugar-loving 7 year-old I was, my mother decided I had to do something to keep in shape and signed me up for the YMCA swim team. I started with a week long trial and boy, was that a mistake. Every day I would go and swim for an hour and a half, which was not easy when the longest I had ever swam by myself was down the pool once at swim lessons. Even though I wanted to quit, I kept with it, because my mom wanted me to. After three or four years of complaining and tantrums accompanying any practice, I started to really enjoy swimming. Now it is one of the biggest parts of my life.
This year both the JV and Varsity teams have seen great improvement. Ruthe is working hard with the JV team to improve their starts while Jamie is putting more focus on weights and endurance for Varsity. With all the hard work happening this year, our team is stronger than ever and we hope to show that with victories at the conference meets and sectionals.
Our coaches and captains have really been emphasizing teamwork and positivity this year. We have pairs of girls called swim sisters, a newer swimmer with a more experienced one. In the past swim sisters had gotten each other small gifts and snacks, but this year we made each other posters and will get each other a bigger gift at the end of the season.
It is an amazing feeling to know that someone is going to be there cheering for you.
Joining high school swimming was the best decision I could have made. I met one of my best friends, learned how to work as part of a team, and overall it is super fun. Although sometimes the practices can make me want to quit, I know that my, and all the girls’, hard work will pay off. This team has amazing people and I wouldn’t want to lose any of the friendships I have made in the last two years.