As this year’s winter athletic team gets ready for their seasons, it’s important to mention some sports that might not get as much recognition as others. Franklin Swim has been spending the last year trying to get back on their feet and keep the team running. The coach, Erin Morris, as well as the two captains, Riley Doty and Cooper Long, mentioned how difficult it was during the lockdown since there was no way for the swimmers to safely continue the sport. “It was pretty hard during COVID to stay together, especially because it’s such a hard sport to practice safely with social distance,” says Doty. “So a lot of other sports got a start up really quick, swimming, we didn’t.”
Swimmers have to buy their own gear, including swimsuits, goggles, and individual’s own merchandise. The only thing the school provides is swim caps, which cost about 50 cents to produce. Despite this, the captains have high hopes for this season, as the swim team is “more of an internal competition to make yourself better and stronger and faster than you were last week,” says Doty. However, there is still some friendly competition between schools, with the Cleveland High School swim team being Franklin’s rival. Doty continues to say, “We definitely push a lot onto our swimmers that it’s not about if you win the race, it’s if you did your best and got the time you were looking for.”
It’s too late to join the team now, but the captains encourage people to join next season, stating, “It’s a very fun sport, you can learn to be a better swimmer, and make friends.” They invite even non-experienced swimmers to join, as both captains spend a lot of time helping and demonstrating things to the swimmers in their lanes. They help to support athletes in doing the strokes correctly, and giving advice or answering any questions swimmers might have. “So it is a reward to see them do well in their events. … Varsity helps with JV, so it’s kind of a whole team effort … and I think it brings our team closer together,” explains Doty. This type of friendly helping is frequent in the team, with the more advanced members helping newer swimmers to learn new skills and further their horizons in the pool.
The swim team is a very inclusive space; though there are gendered swimsuits and teams, you are able to freely pick if you want to be part of the girls or boys team, as well as wear a suit that makes you the most comfortable. Swimming can be uncomfortable at first, considering the uniforms are revealing in nature. With that as a general understanding, there’s no judgment for the way that anybody looks. As well as no judgment of anyone’s swimming abilities.
The swim team has started strong this year, and with upcoming meets and practices, it’s important to show up and give the team true Franklin support as you’d give to any other sports team this winter season.