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Making waves and building bonds

Diving into a season filled with enthusiasm, the BHS boys swim team emphasizes the power of community building and team spirit both in and out of the water
In a spirited camaraderie of their first meet, the boys swim team unites through a powerful bond and their team chant.
Justin Bryan
In a spirited camaraderie of their first meet, the boys swim team unites through a powerful bond and their team chant.

On a cold, frosty late autumn morning, while most high school students are still asleep warm in their bed, the Ballard High School Boys Swim Team are already swimming tirelessly in the lukewarm Ballard Pool at 7 a.m.  

“We are only eight days into the season and we’ve had awesome attendance at practice. The energy is really high and the enthusiasm of our swimmers is great. They want to learn and grow more,” Kyle Morean, a swim coach and history teacher said.

With 46 people on the team this year – the largest in the last five years – the team aims to organize more community-building events to strengthen team spirit and connections among its members.  The momentum of success carried over from last season, coupled with the buzz created by such a large turnout this year, has revitalized returning team members and created a welcoming community for new members to look forward to at practice every day, despite the rigors of having to practice before school.    

“We had a huge year last year – I was recognized as the Metro League Coach of the Year, the boys came in ninth place at state in the 200 medley relay and also broke the longtime state record in the event,” Morean said. “I’m pumped for this season after our success last year, mainly due to strong team bonds. We’re keeping the momentum with more team-building events for another great season.”  

Senior Kian Vae’ena, co-captain of the boys swim team, has been on the team for three consecutive years and cherishes the community it has fostered at BHS. As a captain this year, he wants to continue to form close bonds with teammates and build more upon the swim community. 

“I love the aspect of brotherhood in the team and the community we have. My goal for the team is that everyone can know each other’s name, and everyone can build friendship,” Vae’ena said. “I also hope that everyone can just learn to be disciplined in themselves and be able to push themselves.” 

Similarly, sophomore Anthony Scoccolo values the strong team connections and views the team as one big family. Although it is only his second year on the team, his commitment extends beyond wins as he is committed to be part of the team’s entire journey with his teammates until graduation. 

“I like that we’re kind of like one big family. The captains are like the parents, and the freshmen are like the new younger siblings since the upperclassmen need to look out for them,” Scoccolo said. “I plan on continuing to be part of the swim team until I graduate and I want to be part of the adventure with everyone instead of just thinking about winning.” 

Despite swimming being an isolated sport, the team is very close-knit through various activities meant to strengthen the team’s community. 

“The training for the sports can be really individualistic and isolating as we’re facing the water but I think the study halls on Wednesdays, the supplemental workouts in the weight room on Mondays and Wednesdays, the team breakfasts every Friday, and the team impromptu outings to MOD Pizza really drives the social aspect of the team and overall building the community,” Morean said. 

Co-captain Nathan Williams can vouch for this, as the team breakfast stands out as one of his favorite team-building events. Having been a part of the team all throughout his high school years, he looks forward to coming together with his teammates during this time and enjoying hislast year of high school swimming as a senior. 

“My favorite event is the team breakfast because it’s weekly and we all look forward to it throughout the whole week. I care about the swim team and our community because we’re  homies and we swim together,” Williams said. 

As the team faces challenges, both in and out of the water, together this season, their shared experiences will continue to build a strong community in the team. 

“Swimming has been fun so far. Everyone on the team is really supportive, especially the captains who give us freshmen information,” Freshman Olin Douglas said. 

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