Diving into summer swim

Joey Durkin and Brynn Feighery, assistant business manager and assistant opinions editor

“I do summer swim because it is fun,” special education teacher and swim coach Peter McDonough said. “It is also a stress free activity that brings the community together.”

According to the Mayo Clinic Staff, exercise releases endorphins that relieve the stress of those who exercise and helps them feel good. Athletes of any age, or any skill level, may be a part of the team. The aim is less oriented toward competition and more toward kicking back and having a good time learning about the sport.

“[The kids] choose to do it,” McDonough said. “It’s summer; they could be doing anything, but they choose to swim. They choose to sacrifice their early mornings during the summer because they want to be there and have a good time, and hopefully learn something too.”

Summer swim, though completely optional, is a big time commitment for those who join. Often times, teams will begin daily afternoon practice after the pool opens at the beginning of summer. Once school lets out, these practices will shift to daily morning practices, starting as early as 6 a.m.

“I like how our entire community is brought together,” sophomore and Franklin Glen Gators swimmer Elise Brehm said. “I like the commitment because it’s more about being with my swim teammates.”

In addition to practice, many teams have at least two meets per week. During the week, developmental meets are often hosted for all members to participate. These meets are an opportunity for swimmers of all skill levels to improve themselves. Most teams also hold meets on Saturdays. This is a competitive meet held between two teams, and the goal is to earn the most points by placing higher in races and winning relays.

“After every meet we pick a restaurant and the whole team goes,” senior John MacDonald said. “It’s a great opportunity for kids to bond when they aren’t the same age.”

Summer swim team is an activity that accommodates the needs of all of its participants. For some, like the younger swimmers, the goal of summer swim is to learn the basics of swimming. For the older and more experienced swimmers, it is to refine and improve swimming skills. And lastly, for the majority of swimmers, its purpose is to have fun and form bonds with members of their community.
“It’s the only place you get to see 18 year olds competing on the same team as 5 year olds,” McDonough said. “Everyone is on the same team and having a good time.”