At Newfield high school, several team sports are offered for students to join- football, soccer, cheerleading, lacrosse... The list goes on. But most students forget about one of the most challenging sports- swimming. Several members of the middle country district are unaware of the districts swim team, as both Newfield and Centereach high schools do not have pools that the swimmers could practice at. Though this sport is extremely unrecognized throughout the district, it is one of the most rewarding and fun activities offered.
How does varsity swimming work?
Varsity swimming, or independant varsity, functions very differently from the other sports that are offered by Middle Country. Since the athletes who compete during the varsity season would have nowhere to practice, they train with the the teams they are a part of the remainder of the year- their club teams. A club team is similar to a travel soccer team or a basketball team. Everyday the athletes meet and practice, and they travel to different locations to compete. As a part of the Middle Country Girls Varsity Swim Team, athletes are expected to complete a minimum of ten practices with their club team, and six meets with the varsity team. These meets take place at high schools all over Long Island that do have pools- Sachem North and East, Central Islip, Brentwood, and many more. At these meets, swimmers have the opportunity to make new friends from other schools while representing the district they come from. They also have a possibility to qualify for the state and counties meets. To attend these meets, swimmers need to reach a certain standard time in a race. This is a difficult task to achieve, as the meets only last approximately forty-five minutes, which does not allow for the athletes to get much rest inbetween events. It is also difficult because the girls varsity season begins immediately after the club teams have their off-seasons, so the athletes are still “getting back into it,” All of these factors make being a varsity swimmer challenging, yet rewarding.
What is your favorite thing about swimming for independent varsity?
As swimmers from a variety of districts and clubs attend Independent Varsity meets, representing their schools, I asked several of them what their favorite aspects of being a varsity swimmer were. County qualifier Gabrielle Velazquez of Longwood High School says “my favorite thing about varsity is getting to see my friends. The sport itself is demanding, and the way it works is weird because you have such a short amount of time to swim your best, but it’s fun.” Alyssa Bauman of Rocky Point High School says that “varsity meets are so much different than club meets, but I feel like here we’re our own small team even though we all come from different schools.” That feeling of closeness and being a team, though all of the athletes come from different schools, reflect the true meaning of the varsity season.