Seniors successfully work to bring back swim and dive

Photo courtesy of Theo Vandenberg

By Jasmine Kim

After months of being disbanded due to the former coach leaving, the school has finally found a new coach and a facility. The swim and dive team will be holding tryouts to officially begin its season in the coming weeks.

While other sports have come back after being put on hold due to Covid, the swim and dive team was still discontinued up until recently.

In the height of the pandemic, Coach Cornegan, the previous swim and dive coach, quit for a new position leaving the team without a coach.

The search for an aquatics coach and a facility were challenging. According to the CIF’s and school’s policy, students are prohibited from practicing on their own without a certified employee as a coach. 

“Swim and dive should be done continuously, every day to show improvement, and there’s no way that you can participate in swimming by wearing masks, which is different from what [other teams] did,” senior Theo Vandenberg said.

The school does not have a home pool on either campus, adding to the problem of bringing back a swim and dive team. However, they have renewed their relationship with the Porter Valley Country Club  by hiring one of the club’s Polar Bear Swim Club coaches as an assistant coach. 

The sudden halt to the swim and dive team was a direct result of Covid. A year and a half ago, there was a swim and dive team, a coach, and a facility for practices. The seniors this school year participated in only one season in freshman year as schools shut down the Monday of their first swim meet.

“[There are many factors] that played a part, but COVID-19 was definitely the main influence. Many coaches (locally) have full time jobs elsewhere and are already coaching clubs and/or other school teams. Some coaches are looking for a full time teaching position along with the coaching role, which is not something I have the authority to offer,” athletic director Cristina Garcia said.

This school year, a few of the seniors on the swim and dive team took on leadership roles with the motive to bring back the tradition of having a team to represent the school and possibly go to CIFs to gain exposure to college coaches and recruiters. 

“Being a part of a sports team in high school is really important because it gives you an opportunity to do and be part of something outside of just your school’s curriculum,” Vandenberg said.

Student athletes, especially those who plan on swimming collegiately, benefit greatly from participating on school teams as it provides valuable exposure to college coaches at CIFs and large meets. Although this has had a positive impact on certain student athletes, others who may not be able to afford being on a club team may suffer the consequences of minimal exposure as well as a weaker application. 

During the process for reforming the team and hiring a coach, the senior swimmers created a petition to show administration that many students at school are interested and in support of a swim and dive team. They were inspired by memories from their single season in freshman year to gain further recognition and make this the top priority of the school administration. 

“Personally I feel that this has been an opportunity for leadership as well as bringing back something that was important to me to share with the underclassmen and showing a passion that we have so that they can follow in our steps and continue being a part of the team,” Vandenberg said.