Diving right in: Swim team adds tryouts to 2018 season

Photo by Natalie Johnson

Soon enough, the waters will be flooded with stress. Each arm that breaks the surface of the pool, gliding by with every stroke, is tainted with pressure and tension. After all, there’s something new swimmers should expect for this upcoming season.

This year, tryouts for the swim team are being held for the first time. Previously, anyone who wished to join would be granted a spot on the swim team. Now, to show that they are serious about getting the position, they must show their dedication to earning that placement by participating in tryouts, which take place on Oct. 20, 26 and 27 at various locations.

For freshman Nandita Gaddam, who has been swimming since she was 8, it’s her first time trying out for the swim team. She feels a bit of stress.

“Tryouts do make things harder, but they also encourage kids to try harder and make the team. I suspect the coach will choose the juniors and seniors, though he may take pity on the younger swimmers. I am pretty nervous because I am an [inferior] swimmer compared to the older kids. However, I also feel confident because I have been working hard and practicing for tryouts,” Gaddam said.

Head coach J.R. Fourqurean made the decision to hold tryouts at the beginning of the previous season. He had two major reasons why he made this decision.

“The first major component behind this decision is safety. It is not safe to pack [a large number of] people into a confined space. The second reason behind the decision is our desire to improve our team; the only way to do that is to work in the off season, [which]will show in these tryouts.,” Fourqurean said.

Some people say that they expect competitive tryouts. Sophomore Sam Evers is welcoming it.

“I’m hoping that the season will be competitive with tryouts. Too many people don’t take the high school practices seriously. I believe that tryouts will make the season better,” Evers said.

Fourqurean said tryouts this year will be composed of requirements that are not necessarily difficult. Instead, in his words, they will be “fairly medium.”

“Students will need to swim a timed 500-yard swim with flip turns, and then we will film them swimming a 200 IM and evaluate their strokes. We will see how this format works for this season and then re-evaluate for the [next] season,” Fourqurean said.

As for students looking to join the swim team, Fourqurean has a few words for them. He said it is OK if some people are just starting to swim.

“If you are a beginning competitive swimmer, there is no shame in taking swim lessons. Once you feel comfortable, reach out to a swimmer on the team and they will be more than happy to come watch and offer suggestions,” Fourqurean said.

When tryouts are first mentioned, they’re associated with stress and worries about not performing well. However, they may be necessary in the long run. After all, they're used to determine who’s serious about swimming in those lanes.

This story was originally published in the October 2018 Courier Online. You can read it here.


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