Choppy Waters: Swim Team Powers Through Pandemic Challenges


Rollins Hamrick

On Deck: Junior Aislin Ward follows proper swimming protocol before practice.

North Atlanta’s swim team is diving into a new season, navigating through the troubled waters of this pandemic. Unlike land athletes, swimmers are unable to wear masks and maintain social distance throughout meets and practices. Coaches and captains are working tirelessly to ensure that the team is able to reach its full potential under these challenging conditions.

Practices this year will resemble 2020’s new normal: As masked swimmers enter the pool deck, they get their temperature checked. Masks are expected to be worn up until it is time to enter the pool. As team members set their stuff down and wait for practice to begin, they are required to sit six feet apart from each other. Designated spots set at a safe distance apart are marked with blue tape to make sure swimmers adhere to this rule. In the pool, swimmers are spread out, with no more than 4 per lane. Used to being able to fraternize with their teammates, this new swim system feels foreign to members of the team. “The new rules make swimming feel kind of different, and it can be difficult to remember to keep my mask on,” said junior Chloe Fernandes. “It’s hard to not be able to sit with my friends at practices.”

There is no I in team, but there are no group gatherings under Coronavirus. Social distancing in and out of the pool is a deterrent to the team’s dynamics. Last year, the swim team was able to host team dinners and bonding events, which are now a mere memory. While this system is unpopular, if it means staying safe and getting to be together later on, it is well worth it. “The new terms aren’t my favorite but if it keeps other people safe I am happy to do it.” said senior captain Savannah Mason. 

Reduced practice time is another obstacle the team must contend with. This means that when there is practice, swimmers need to be productive with their limited time in the pool. This has created a sense of determined urgency among the coaching staff. “Since we have limited practices during the week, practices have been very effective and efficient. We do not have a lot of time to waste while we are in the water.” said swim coach Tim Storsteen. 

With everything this year has thrown at them, it’s all these swimmers can do to stay afloat. If anyone can put their heads down and get right to work, it’s the North Atlanta swim team. Here’s to hoping that their season goes swimmingly.