Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, life has begun to resume and a “return to normality” has begun. This includes the return of MHS sports, including the swim team, who hopes to have a strong season.
Due to COVID, the sport looks incredibly different this year. According to Coach Jessica Bisson, swim meets are conducted virtually. This means that each team is swimming in their home pool. “[They] just swim and do normal races as [they] do, and when both teams have completed the meet [they] go in and upload the results.” The times decide the outcome of the meet.
Due to this, the mindset of the sport changes radically; it’s almost impossible to know how the players are doing. “When [they’re] swimming in the pool, it really gives [them] an opportunity to push, because [they] see who [they’re] next to and [they] know [they’re] trying to beat them” stated Bisson. It is much more difficult to motivate yourself against a clock than it is with an actual person. Bisson stated that after the first meet, the team decided to focus on their mindset. “It’s giving [them] an opportunity to rethink how [they] do [their] starts, how [they] do our finishes,” all of the small elements that improve the team’s overall technique.
According to Junior Sarah Oliveira, during practices, the team has to practice with swimmers in totally different lanes in order to socially distance. She stated that “[they] have to socially distance in the water, so there’s one person in the far left side of the lane, and then the other to the right, and one treading water.” The locker rooms are closed for the most part, although the swimmers are given a short amount of time to change at the end, one by one. “Swimming, in general, has stayed the same, but how [they] do it has changed, as expected.”
Overall, the team did shrink a bit due to the seniors who graduated as well as people who could not swim due to Covid. Oliveira added that “[she] thinks [they’re] roughly at around the same amount of people, around 5 less than before.”
Captain David Lombardi believes that swimming this year is worth it since he is “gaining closure to [his] career as a swimmer.” Last year, the team got quite competitive with an undefeated streak, and Lombardi himself reached states the past three years and placed in the Top 10 twice. According to Lombardi, “the team is mostly looking for fun” and personally, he is as well. “Without those competitions [he is] really just trying to have some fun with the sport and gain the understanding for it again.”