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Alternative Team Sport Found In Water


There are many winter sports at the high school, and along with sports such as wrestling, basketball, and track, and conditioning for spring sports like soccer, other activities occur outside those offered by the school.

Although considered a year-round sport, swimming season has officially begun in places such as Chesterfield County Schools, and recreation leagues such as NOVA.

One Chesterfield County School with a swim team is Thomas Dale High School in Chester. Thomas Dale freshman Mina Ross says she got into the sport for remaining conditioned, and while on the team, formed strong bonds within the team.

“To be honest, the main reason I started swimming was because I wanted to stay in shape, but I stayed because of my teammates,” Ross said via Instagram. “Most of them are really talented  and I think I can learn a lot and improve from them.”

Ross explains that the rules for swim meets are similar to other sports, such as track.

“Our coach places us in events and tells us what they are so we can practice that specific stroke before the meet. It begins with warm up which is where the different teams swim for about fifteen minutes to loosen up and get used to the pool,” Ross said.

After warming up, swimmers sit with their team and until their event. Based on where they place in their event, swimmers get points to their team.

Sophomore Gabriella Daniels swims for the YMCA and describes practice as one that takes dedication.

“It’s intense,” Daniels said. “It’s endurance some days, sometimes speed, than our overall bodies.”

Practice varies from team to team. NOVA, a non-profit swim club located in Richmond, has its swim team members practice anywhere from six to eight times a week.

Practice could start as early as six in the morning and time could be split up so that there will be two hours in pool, and one doing “dry-land,” or out of pool, exercises.

“It varies. For our team [Thomas Dale], the lanes are mostly divided by how fast we are, and we kind of just made an unspoken rule that the fastest person in the lane is in the front, so no one is overlapped,” Ross said. “Sometimes we focus on a specific stroke for practice and then fix small mistakes that are making us gain time. Other times we get to choose the stroke and our coach gives us guidelines to follow.”

While Prince George does not have an official swim team, swimmers agree that it would be nice for Prince George to have one to call their own.

“I think it’d be pretty awesome,” Daniels said. “There are a lot of people who do NOVA here, surrounding counties already have swim teams so it’s more competition.”

Sophomore Danielle Dawson thinks that a team at Prince George would greatly benefit students.

“I think they should [create a swim team],” Dawson said. “It gets other kids involved, and I believe it’s a good sport.”

Ross says that if resources allow, she would like more schools with teams outside Chesterfield.

“Swimming is really fun and you get to meet new people so I would love it if more people become part of swimming,” Ross said. “We’d probably have more competition  if more schools had teams, but high school swimming to me, isn’t really about winning, it’s about having new experiences with new people.”

Athletic Director Hezekiah Butler, having only had the job a year, has not heard any suggestion of getting a swimming team for the Royals yet, and says many things would be needed if one were to form.

“We’d have to find resources and interest,” Butler said. “You’d have to find resources, finding a coach, students, and funds for resources.”

In order to have a team, they would need a facility to practice and host meets. As estimates, the cost of a eight lane, twenty-five yard pool averages at $850,000 dollars.

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