Swim Team Finds Success at Meet Despite an Uncertain Season

Despite+modifications+and+challenges+due+to+the+pandemic%2C+Greenhill+Swimming+had+a+successful+meet.+

Graphic by Raag Venkat

Despite modifications and challenges due to the pandemic, Greenhill Swimming had a successful meet.

Sophia Li

One strict exit, no lockers or showers after practice, and off-limit bathrooms was the practice environment that greeted the Greenhill swim team early in December. Given the unprecedented barriers caused by COVID-19, coaches and swimmers were faced with the task of launching a successful season while following strict safety protocols.

With all the changes made to ensure a safe practice, the environment looked quite different from what most swimmers were accustomed to.

“The swimmers have to wear their masks all the way till they get in the pool and as soon as they get out of the water, they put their masks back on,” Head Swimming Coach Patti Monzingo said. 

While these modifications did allow for some sense of normalcy, some swimmers explain the changes they have experienced.

“The team atmosphere is the main difference,” freshman Oliver Feng said. “It takes out on some of the social opportunities such as getting to know new members of the team.”

Despite the challenges swimmers and coaches were forced to cope with, winter sports seemed to be going fairly smoothly, until Director of Athletics and Physical Education Jarrett Shine announced on Nov. 17 that all after-school sports events would be suspended. A couple of weeks later, a swim meet scheduled for Dec. 2 was also postponed.

“The sad part was that I thought our season was going to be canceled,” Feng said.

However, while the conventional practices were canceled, the coaches tried to continue the sport with at-home workouts.

“We have a lot of swimmers that belong to club swimming, so they were able to keep practicing,” said Monzingo, “For the kids that are not in club, they did some team building exercises and I looked up videos on flip turns, starts, and streamlining underwater so they could still be learning.”

Freshman Eliana Campbell continued to say, “It did hurt people who did not have access to a pool and could not train.”

However, the in-person season for the swimmers began again ahead of Greenhill’s first swim meet of the year, On Dec. 9 Greenhill swimmers had a dual meet with Parish Episcopal School.

In the meet, Greenhill won 221 to 128, launching off the season with a successful meet. The individual winners were: Josie Arbuckle, 100-yard butterfly; Oliver Feng, 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke: Hannah Fox, 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle; M.J. Ward, 100-yard butterfly; Diane Lin, 50-yard freestyle and Jackson Benners, 100-yard freestyle. 

Most notably, senior Theo Johnson broke the school record in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 59.65. 

“Not very many people go under a minute in the 100 breaststroke, so to have the privilege of seeing that was magical,” Monzingo said.

Furthermore, one swimmer expresses what the results of the first meet may imply about the remaining season.

“I have set expectations for myself and certain times I want to hit. As a team, we want to place well in SPC and get some record-breaking times,” Campbell said.

While the exact trajectory for the season is uncertain, the Greenhill swim team is on a path towards success.

 “There’s a lot of goals for the rest of the season,” Monzingo said. “Records are going to start falling on the girls side too.”