Swim teams share the ‘sea’

By Jessica Knudson

For many years preceding high school, I switched around to nearly every sport imaginable but never found "the one." It took me years to accept the fact that I wasn’t coordinated enough for softball, aggressive enough for soccer, fast enough for track, tall enough for basketball, jumpy enough for volleyball, quick enough for tennis, stable enough for ice-skating or flexible enough for dance.

After nose-diving into muddy fields, defending the Goliath of all girls, falling during dance team tryouts, running into nets, hitting too many cars with tennis balls and being scolded for misunderstanding the whole "block the ball" concept of being goalie, I decided to retire from certain sports.

With various haunting athletic experiences behind me, I developed a slight dislike for intense competition, physical aggressiveness, muddy cleats and ugly-colored jerseys. As a freshman, I finally found a sport that clicked; it did not entail brutal physical contact, sweating in the sun or filling the laundry with mud-stained clothes. It could even save a life: swimming.


Throughout high school, I have returned to the same team of aquatic geniuses. In that time, I have been dubbed a captain and received the team spirit award. I have grown to love the lingering smell of chlorine as my natural perfume, the reflective alien-like goggles, pasta and the number of swim caps I have broken trying to stretch over my 22 inches of luscious pouf at every practice.

Just like any other sport, swimming has opposing competition, junior varsity and varsity, team uniforms, a point system and adoring parental fans. Hi, Mom.

What people often fail to realize is the technique, agility, endurance and attitude that keep the sport afloat.

Century, for example, has a positive theme for each season and brands the girls’ swim caps with that single, motivating word to remind us each day that we are a team. The past three years’ themes have been dubbed "One," "Believe" and "Attitude." Regardless of age or skill level, all swimmers practice the same set, swim the same meet, hear the same pep talk and cheer for the same team members.

Aside from attitude, swimming takes aptitude. This year, Century girls won the section meet; the boys swim team record over the last few years has amounted to an incredible 45-0 winning streak.

Rochester has had tremendous swim teams in the past few years. This sport brings cohesiveness from each of the high school teams: Century, JM and Mayo. Not many other sports can say that at a Big Nine or section tournament, all three schools cheer together as one team. After all, we share a city and, often times, a pool.

Whether one is JV or varsity, senior or seventh-grader, star or rookie, every member swims in the same school of fish under the same sea.

Jessica Knudson is a senior at Century High School. To respond to an opinion column, send an e-mail to

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