It’s always a good time; nothing can stop Trojan Swim and Dive

The Trojan Swim and Dive team season started out like no other. With COVID-19 delaying several meets and practices, the athletes had to adapt to new circumstances. One of the COVID-19 protocols is that students must compete at their own pool, and face off against their opponents virtually.

With the absence of the students’ biggest fans – their parents, and their opponents swimming not in the lane next to them, but on a laptop, the ambiance of the natatorium is underwhelming. “The atmosphere isn’t nearly the same,” said one of the Highland Park swimmers. And it truly isn’t. Whilst visiting swim meets and practices, the eerie cheers rebounding off the surface of the water don’t fill the room with quite the same presence.

Despite the restrictions of one of the deadliest pandemics in centuries, the mild setback of an underwhelming audience doesn’t stop the swim and dive team. The team continues to train hard. Around a dozen students of many varying levels of skill all strive towards the same goal of competing, improving and having fun.

having day-to-day interactions again… is what makes swimming really fun,

— freshman Rishi Bhargava

Lifetime swimmer and new member of the varsity team Connor Overgaard said, “Everyone puts in the work. It’s a different level than my club team. Some kids are completely new to swimming, but at the end of the day, everyone gets in the same pool, and swims the same 2-3 miles for 2 hours, whether one of us finishes 10 minutes before the other.”

For Overgaard, swimming is his competitive sport (among many other sports), but for others, swimming and diving are just a way to have fun during a pandemic.

Freshman Sam Zakaib, described diving as “Fun because you get to do flips.”

When asked if he is the best on the team, Zakaib quickly exclaimed, “No, but the most important thing for me is having fun.”

Sam fractured his wrist, and sadly had to miss out on the first meet, but is optimistic about attending future ones.

Students certainly do have a fun time. The season was filled with humorous moments. Freshman Rishi Bhargava, another competitive club swimmer, recalls when captain Sean Stephenson stopped mid-dive when teammate Thomas Minner cheered him on. Stephenson mistook him as an official. “It was pretty funny,” Barghava chuckled.

Junior Pah Na said his favorite moment of the season was when an official “liked [his] speedo design, which had a hamburger on it.”

For these swimmers, just “having day-to-day interactions again… is what makes swimming really fun,” said Bhargava.

The story of this swim team stretches far beyond swimming, but to friendship, determination, and of course: fun. Whether it was a laughable miscommunication at the start of the race, a complimenting of a speedo, tedious laps and diving routines practiced every day or the social interactions with friends that used to be considered normal, students are most grateful for being able to connect.