Varsity Swim Cancels Meets Due to COVID-19

Courtesy+of+Talisman+Yearbook+Staff

Courtesy of Talisman Yearbook Staff

Myka Wenzel

   Despite safety measures put into place school wide, the swim team has decided to only host intersquad meets instead of having dual meets against other local schools. Intersquad meets consist of the swimmers divided into two teams competing against each other. This decision was made by Jason Bowes, the varsity head coach, as well as the athletic department.

   “The decision we made was based on what’s happening right now. We came to the agreement that this is the best thing,” said Bowes, who has been the varsity head coach since 2007.

   Although this is the safest way to continue swimming, there are still drawbacks to not being able to compete. Without the adrenaline from a dual meet, team spirit isn’t the same.

   “Regular meets, I feel, are a lot more team-spirited. We can be closer together and it kind of stinks because of the COVID guidelines, and we can’t do our cheers,” said Zachary Ghallager, a junior on the swim team. 

   Along with the loss of team spirit, for some there has also been less motivation to show up to practices. With the new regulations, students have to come to practice on days they are not in school even though there are no official meets. 

   “There’s definitely a decline in attendance and overall enthusiasm in the sport,” said Hailley Siswanto, a sophomore who has been swimming for seven years.

   There is hope in the future that Bowes can set up virtual dual meets against other schools, but there has not been a decision about districts or states.

   “We have no communication on what districts or regionals or states are going to look like,” said Bowes. 

   There is uncertainty about how and if future potential scholarships and college offers are going to be affected by Tampa Prep’s decision to not host dual meets.

   “I think it’s going to be different, it’s going to be a different approach to getting recruited for both the recruiter and recrutee,” said Bowes.

  Due to COVID-19, the swim season is shorter than it would usually be since they were forced to start later. However, with all these setbacks, Bowes has been telling swimmers to look on the bright side. Siswanto completely agrees with Bowes as she, along with other people, realize that while this may not be ideal, they are still able to do what they love. 

   “I think that if you’re really serious about swim, it’s not always about training for competitions, sometimes it’s just about enjoying what you’re doing and that’s what it is for me,” says Siswanto.