Poolside Chats: Discussing Passion and Inspiration

By JENNA YAN, freshman

Although the young JP Stevens swim team is only in its second year as an official team, many of the swimmers are truly motivated and determined. Through their mutual support and encouragement, the swim team has been building up a positive attitude for the years to come.  Prior to the beginning of the season, we were able to interview some of the swimmers.  Here are their responses on their dedication to this sport:

  1.        Question: What influenced your decision to join the swim team?

“Swimming is something that I enjoy doing and have been participating in for over ten years of my life. I joined the team because I wanted to represent JP through my passion for this sport.” Manav Shah, sophomore

“I joined the swim team because I had been swimming for a while on my club team (outside of school) and one of my friends told me that JP was getting a real team with dual meets. I thought it sounded really fun and I was right!” — Sydney Kwan, junior

  1.      Question: Why do you enjoy swimming?

I enjoy swimming because like many sports, it allows me to see how far hard work can go. Good results don’t happen to everyone; only people who are willing to put in the effort are rewarded, and this is a challenge I’ve come to appreciate.” Eugene Kim, senior

“I enjoy swimming because it’s a unique sport; there’s nothing more satisfying than achieving a goal you’ve worked so hard for. What keeps me motivated is the friendly competition with my friends and the desire to reach my goals.” David Wang, senior

“Swimming is something I enjoy doing because it is a unique sport.  It doesn’t involve any extra equipment: you just need to show up with a suit, a pair of goggles, and a cap, and then you’re ready to go. I’ve been swimming for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been through wins, losses, friendships, and even injuries; yet, I would never give swimming up because of the lessons I learned from it.” Stephanie Chiu, freshman

“I enjoy swimming because I enjoy being in the water.  The experience is completely different from all other sports because the pool environment is different. Swimming allows a leveled playing field because results can change in a split second. This sport provides an excellent opportunity for everyone to participate and work toward improvement along with their teammates.” Elizabeth Chiu, junior

“I enjoy swimming because it’s a very fun and vigorous sport, and one where I like to compete against myself. Swimming truly is a great sport because it is fair game; everyone is required to work hard. Without consistent hard work, you might be ranked first at one meet and then finish last at the next. ” Andrew Galarza, junior


  1.        Question: Who are your favorite swimmers and how do they inspire you?

“My favorite swimmer is Nathan Adrian, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and American record holder in freestyle.  He works extremely hard at what he does, and I’ve never seen him give up.  I admire his ability to sprint through the water at such high speeds. His swimming style inspires me to try to mimic what he’s best at.” Andrew Galarza, junior

“Mark Spitz is my favorite swimmer because he is a legend in swimming. During the 1972 Olympics, he set a world record, winning seven gold medals. This was a great accomplishment in the swimming world at the time because there were no goggles to swim with back then.  I admire his ability to swim at such an advanced level without the proper equipment, technique, or conditions. His swimming career makes me cherish the opportunities that our team has. We may not like the sets in practice or the pain, but we definitely had better conditions than Mark Spitz had.” Paul Stanik, senior

“My favorite swimmer is Missy Franklin because she excels in my favorites strokes: freestyle and backstroke. Her positive attitude inspires me: even on a bad day at a meet, she always smiles. In her debut at the age of 17 at the 2012 Summer Olympics, she won a total of five medals, four of which were gold. I remember watching her on TV and couldn’t help but be in awe at her amazing performance.” Stephanie Chiu, freshman

  1.         Question: How do you stay motivated?

“Personal goals motivate me because of the satisfaction that of achieving something that I set for myself, not something someone else assigned me to do. These goals give me the strength to push through the last stretch.” Brianna Tang, junior

“Winning my events and achieving new personal best times help motivate me to get better.  In swimming, I get an awesome feeling when I can show the rest of the world that I’m capable of taking on and completing a challenge.” Andrew Galarza, junior  

My goals are definitely a big source of my motivation. Whether they are personal records or qualifying times, my goals give me something to train for. The satisfaction of achieving them is what gives me the extra push to make it through a hard practice.” Eugene Kim, senior

  1.         Question:  What is something special about JP’s swim team?

“The special thing about JP’s swim team is that we are one big family. We make each other laugh by telling jokes, and we stick together through thick and thin. We support our teammates and try to motivate one another to do better.  The determined spirit that everyone has is also another definite factor in the uniqueness of our team.” Paul Stanik, senior

“What’s so special about JPs swim team is that we’ve only been a real high school swim team for one year, and we’ve already gotten so far. This year, the size of our team almost doubled. We work hard and train, and it has paid off! Last year, a lot of our swimmers got Top 16 in their events at GMCs, which is a huge accomplishment.” — Sydney Kwan

“JP’s swim team is in the process of becoming a widely recognized team. We started as a real team last year and succeeded a lot. Every year we improve and become better as a whole.” Manav Shah, sophomore


  1.     Question: What’s your favorite food/routine to complete before a meet?

My warmup routine consists of listening to loud music to get my blood flowing.” David Wang, senior

“My favorite routine to complete before every meet is to eat a lot of carbs, like pasta, the day before a big meet, and to stay relaxed by listening to music before every race.” Manav Shah, sophomore

“My favorite thing to do before a meet is sleep a lot. I also love to eat pasta to give my body energy before a race. Before any big meets, I like to taper (when the intensity level and distance during a practice decreases).” Stephanie Chiu, freshman
The JPS swim team is definitely one of the most charismatic and unique teams in the pool during the 2015-2016 winter season. The swimmers’ optimism, firm dedication to their sport, and strong support for each other will certainly shed a bright light on the young JPS swim team’s season.


***UPDATE*** (as of 1/19/2016)- Season Highlights

The J.P. Stevens Hawks swim team had an amazing start this winter season and is looking forward to winning events in the upcoming Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) meet.  With captain Eugene Kim (12) leading, the boys team have won three out of the four meets so far into the season, losing only to the competitive East Brunswick High School by a close eight points, with the score of 89-81.  Although beginning with a rocky start, the girls team met their first win of the season against John F. Kennedy High School, led by captain Brianna Tang (11).  With an ultimate combined score of 134-36, the Hawks dominated the meet and brought back yet another victory.  While the J.P. swim team is still in its second year of progress, there are high hopes for ranking amongst the top during GMC’s.  The Hawks swim team remains continually positive in their determination to bring back more wins in the near future.

Featured image taken by Jenna Yan



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