Swimming & Diving perseveres through tough training

Fisher Bond ’22 dives in a meet against Episcopal Academy – Communications

Members of the swimming and diving teams go through rigorous training, meeting on weekends or late after school to work out both in the water and on land, yet they are persevering through the struggle of their sports. Sixth Form Captain Bram Schork believes the team’s ability to persevere through training stems from its energy.

“A positive energy, very cliché, but that’s literally all you need because there’s no way to keep yourself motivated to swim six miles a day unless you all can cheer each other on,” Schork said. 

Though the diving team is smaller, only six people, team morale is just as important. The diving team has built a small community—a family, one team member called it. 

“We definitely push each other to succeed and continue diving,” Fifth Former Jack Suter said. “It’s a good family of divers.”

While the swimming and diving teams have historically been separate, practicing at different times, Head Swimming Coach and Director of Aquatics Mr. Sean Hansen has made an effort to integrate the teams more. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they split the pool so the diving and swimming teams practice at the same time. On other days, the diving team uses the pool after the swimming team. 

“It’s good to get them on the board, and we split the pool, just so there’s that team aspect of it. They’re not completely alienated and just show up to meets and dive,” Mr. Hansen said.

For the swimming team, one challenge that the student leaders have faced is that most of the team are Third and Fourth Formers. 

“[It’s] an incredibly young team. There are two seniors on the swim team. Three between the swimming and diving team,” Schork said. “So two seniors, a handful of juniors, maybe four or five, and then twenty-five guys spread out amongst the sophomores and freshmen.”

I’ve [been swimming] my entire life, and if I write a practice where I’m like ‘Nope. I wouldn’t want to do that,’ I kind of crumple it up and start over

Mr. Sean Hansen

Yet Schork and the rest of the team’s upperclassmen have made a distinct effort to create a team culture that could so easily be non-existent in a group where the younger members heavily outweigh the older members. They have been able to do this by calling on each member of the team to assume responsibility for the culture.

“You can have senior leaders, but with so many kids, you need everyone everywhere just to kind of step up,” Schork said. 

Schork added that Coach Hansen has fostered a lot of the team’s camaraderie through his no-nonsense mentality. He embraces hard work, believing that the athletes on his team should put 100% into their academics, sport, and extracurriculars. Still, he doesn’t micromanage his athletes.

“The guys that are here, in the pool, are the guys that I’m focused on. If you’re not here because you have homework… because you’re going to a club team… If I’m worried about why you’re not here, I’m not focused on the kids that are in the pool,” Mr. Hansen said.

One of the ways that Mr. Hansen has been able to use his focus to help the athletes during practice is in the mental part of swimming. The key to easing the mental burden of training is to create workouts that accomplish the athletic goals while not seeming daunting to the swimmers.

“I’ve [been swimming] my entire life, and if I write a practice where I’m like ‘Nope. I wouldn’t want to do that,’ I kind of crumple it up and start over,” Mr. Hansen said. 

This attention to the mental aspects of practice has certainly helped the swimmers improve, and as the swimmers look to the future—to dual meets as well as larger meets such as Easterns—they know that they will be prepared.

“I’d say that, as a team, we will be ready [for Easterns],” Fifth Form swimmer Luka Sekulic said. “You know, sometimes it’s not even about the destination. It’s about the journey.”

Author: Joey Kauffman '23

Joseph Kauffman is an Editor-In-Chief for The Index, a position he assumed in May 2021. He previously served as editor of the Features section, where he won a Silver Key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for his features piece “Students Ponder The Social Dilemma.” His review of the movie "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" also earned him second place in the Pennsylvania Press Club Annual High School Journalism Contest. Before joining The Index, Joey spent a near decade in Lower and Middle school, workshopping with his peers. When not writing articles, Joey can be found at various restaurants across the Delaware Valley.