Life in the fast lane

By Karina Zanyk McLean & Lauren Parker
now at dow & out of bounds

Lactate set, module and VO2 max. Although these words may be foreign to most students at DHS, for the girls of the swim team this is just another day in the pool. Girls swimming has been a varsity sport at DHS for a long time and has always been a strong force.The girls of the 2011 team are proud of this accomplishment and are working hard to keep their record up.

“We haven’t lost this year,” freshman Lauren Hall said.

The team practices up to six hours a day, six days a week between morning and afternoon practices.

“The hardest part about swimming is all the time you have to put in, it’s a lot of work, and practices are really hard,” freshman Jasmine Purtell said.

A typical practice can consist of time spent in the pool, and doing dry land workouts such as bleachers and cycling. Hard work seems to be the key to success for the girls.

“It’s always tough but, you have to train really hard to get better,” sophomore Kara Dean said.

The practice pays off when the girls go to meets. Each swimmer is allowed to swim in up to four races, two individual and two relays. The strokes include freestyle, butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke.

“The best part of the meets is getting to race people, I like the competition,” junior Emily Maraskine said. “My least favorite part is that you have to swim a bunch of races really close together, you don’t get a lot of time to rest.”

Swimming is not the only part of the meets, diving is also an event. There are four types of dives; forward, backward, inward, reverse and twist. These dives vary in the level of difficulty. They vary from basic dives to additional combinations. The DHS team currently has two divers.

“Last year there were no divers, so this year everyone is excited about having us,” sophomore Kathleen Bailey said.

Divers practice less often than swimmers, but this doesn’t mean it’s any easier.

“I started diving because I tried swimming and it was too hard, and I thought diving would be easier,” Bailey said. “It wasn’t, but I stuck with it anyway. It’s actually really hard and exhausting.”

A lot of the strength of the team comes from the strong chemistry.

“We’re really together this year,” Maraskine said. “Not that we weren’t before but it’s more noticeable this year, no one’s left out.”

Maraskine also noted the differences between club swimming and DHS swimming.

“When you swim for club it’s for yourself, but on this team, it’s all about the team,” Maraskine said. “You’re focused on scoring points for the team, and it’s a lot less about yourself.”

Dean agreed with Maraskine on team chemistry.

“We’re really close, it’s like a second family, and we are with each other for like five to six hours a day,” Dean said.

The team aspect of swimming seems to be most important during meets.

“There’s always a teammate behind the Dow lanes to cheer you on,” Hall said. “There’s a lot of energy.”

Dean knows the importance of team support at the meets.

“You really need your teammates to get you through those hard sets and events,” Hall said.

Although the swim team has been a strong program at DHS for a number of years, the swimmers agree that it doesn’t seem to get the attention that other sports such as football receive.

“I’m a football fan too, but we’ve been undefeated for many years,” Dean said.

Purtell agreed with the lack of a fan base for their team.

“I think our sport is definitely under appreciated,” Dean said. “People don’t think swimming is hard, they think anyone can do it, we win every single one of our meets. People just don’t seem to care.”

Dean thinks that the pattern of swimming being ignored is not just at DHS.

“Swimming is overlooked as a sport in general; Americans don’t really pay attention until Michael Phelps is winning the Olympics,” Dean said.

As the season comes to a close, and the girls look towards States and finishing the season, there are many mixed feelings about closure.

“I’m kind of glad, just because we’ve been working so hard, and we’re all so tired, but I’m also sad to see it go because it’s been a great season,” Maraskine said.

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