Dec. 11, 2021
By Anastasia Loutroutzis
After an atypical season last year because of Covid-19 restrictions, the swim team—which is co-oped with North Arlington High School—hit the water for its first in-person meet since 2020.
On Dec. 1, the team faced off against Leonia High School at a home meet that ended with a score of 44-110 for the girls and 46-96 for the boys.
The majority of the team consists of freshmen and sophomores since there are only four junior and three senior swimmers.
“During the last two years, over 20 seniors have graduated,” Hoyt said. “This is definitely a rebuilding year for us.”
Hoyt said she expects the swimmers to continually strive to do their personal best. She said as the season goes on, the number of difficult practices increases.
To keep her team’s growth at a steady rate, she said the practices become more strenuous as the season goes on.
“The swimmers swim for approximately two hours daily and are encouraged to complete dry land workouts as well,” Hoyt said. “Some of the strokes can be difficult to do, such as butterfly and breaststroke.”
Hoyt said the team’s best quality is its spirit.
“Everyone cheers for each other no matter what place the person ends up in. There is a true sense of wanting everyone to do their best and feel good about how they did,” Hoyt said.
Junior Alyssa Centurion, who joined the team as a sophomore, said she has had a good start to the season. She said the swimmers from Leonia were kind and encouraged her and her teammates.
“After I finished the 500 [freestyle], both ladies on my side told me I did a good job. Once I got out, everyone congratulated me. When I was in the locker room, [the swimmers] told me how good I did,” Centurion said.
She said the Dec. 1 meet was a learning experience.
“[We had] to try our best even if we were going against a hard team,” Centurion said. “We tried to stay motivated and have a good time.”
“Everyone cheers for each other no matter what place the person ends up in. There is a true sense of wanting everyone to do their best and feel good about how they did.”
Sophomore Amber Vergara, who studied virtually last year, said it has been challenging to balance her schoolwork with swimming now that she is back learning in person.
“Being enrolled in five honors classes as well as being at practice until five can be a lot to deal with. You have to find a balance in your academic and athletic life because, at the end of the day, your grades come first,” Vergara said.
Despite the stress caused by a busy schedule, Vergara said she is glad Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.
“[Last season,] meets were held virtually, meaning the opposing team was not physically present. Along with the absence of competitors, the stands were virtually empty since only the parents of the swimmers were allowed to attend. We still cheered and screamed our lungs out, but it [was not the same] as a regular meet,” Vergara said.
Vergara said her teammates practice great sportsmanship. She said swim meets are not just about winning or losing but supporting one another.
“If I could describe my team in one word it would be optimistic. They will never comment negatively on your body, scream at you or put you down. My team will always cheer you on and help you out when you need it the most,” Vergara said. “We’re all there to become better swimmers and lift each other up, not fight for the top.”