By KAPIL JAIN, junior
The bell sounds, and the swimmers are off. They dive into the frigid water, adrenaline building with each progressive lap. As the race approaches the final leg, the swimmers muster all of their remaining energy to pack power into their last few strokes, knowing that every movement is crucial. Finally, the timer blares and cheers erupt as the winner, who was ahead by only a fraction of a second, is announced.
Swimming’s intense atmosphere is enough to intimidate even the most self-assured, headstrong athletes. The aquatic sport requires an enormous amount of perseverance in order to succeed, as proven by one of our school’s top independent swimmers, senior Eric Ng. Eric has been a part of the Scarlet Aquatic Club for eight years. Last year, he was the runner-up in Southern Sectionals, second only to an Olympic swimmer, and finished twelfth place in Junior Nationals. Additionally, Eric is ranked tenth in the nation for his age group in the 1500-yard event and recently placed 8th in the 1650-yard event. These honorable accomplishments demonstrate the satisfying results of enduring high-level training every day.
This admirable amount of self-motivation is also present in our own school team. Built to push the swimmers to faster speeds and longer stamina, practices last for an hour and a half and consist of many different sets of laps that result in 4000 total yards each day. Coach Williams also holds dryland practices where the swimmers are required to perform various strength and stamina exercises, including running and star-jumps. Ultimately, Coach Williams believes, “The J.P. Stevens Swim Team has a variety of talent. It is my job as Head Coach to get each athlete to reach their potential by adjusting the practices according to the talent level of the swimmer. I look forward to the progress each one of my swimmers will have this season, and hope to have a lasting impression on them beyond the sport of swimming.”
While swimming continues to be a favorite hobby for many of us, it is a serious, year-round sport for others. Competitions can be between individuals and teams; in both cases, the casual, relaxed pool atmosphere we know so well is transformed into an exciting, cutthroat arena where every second counts.