By: Ellie Sgro and Zoe Baumcratz
Four Seton LaSalle seniors had their senior recognition night for swimming this Thursday, January 11. Even though the number of swimmers on the team has decreased in the past few years, these swimmers have stuck with the team through it all. Claudia Pearce, Cullin Baker, Robert Gigliotti, and Song Wang have spent countless hours practicing for their meets and working on bettering themselves for the benefit of themselves and the team.
Many of the swimmers on the team have been swimming for some time before they decided to join the team. Robert Gigliotti has been the swim team manager for three years. Song, even though he just joined the team this year, has been swimming for about 12 years. Another one of the swimmers who has had prior experience is Claudia Pearce who has been swimming for six years, and had been on the team all four years of her high school career.
However, prior experience has very little to do with these swimmers abilities. For example, Cullin Baker, who joined the team his sophomore year and has had little to no prior experience, has broken the school record for the 50 free and has qualified for the WPIAL Championships three times this year alone. He has also placed 3rd place in the 50 free at the WPIAL Championship his junior year and qualified for States where he placed 24th overall. Claudia’s favorite event is the 100 Free with the her best time being 1.11.
These swimmers enjoy the challenge and the hard work that the sport brings to them. Song Wang says, “ [the] best part of swimming is the feeling of accomplishment when I feel tired but I am still trying and I did better than last time.”
The seniors also find that not only is the hard work that they put into it a satisfying part of swimming, but they also enjoy watching the accomplishments of their team members. Cullin Baker says that his favorite part of swimming is cheering each other on at the meets. Robert Gigliotti says, “My favorite swimming memory is every time we encounter a new official and they walk past Mrs. D and over to me because they think that I’m the head coach.”
These swimmer also have fun in and out of the pool by having team dinners before each meet, playing games at the Christmas practice, and more. Cullin Baker remarked that his favorite swim memory was when “a few swimmers and I stole a teammates car.” Claudia Pearce says that her favorite memory happened this year when, “me and four other teammates went to Starbucks before a Friday practice that started at 3. We only had enough money to buy one large drink, which we put five straws in and shared. We were almost ten minutes late to practice, but it was worth it.”
Even though they enjoy the sport, there are still some things they wish they didn’t have to do. Some of the worst parts of swimming, according to the seniors, include the early morning practices and getting into the cold pool in the middle of winter. According to Claudia, the worst part of swimming is the cold and having your hair freeze when you walk outside after a meet or practice. Robert says that the worst part for him is how hot it can get on the pool deck.
One of the most important parts of being on the swim team is setting goals for yourself. Many of the members set goals around beating an certain time or qualifying for WPIALS. Song Wang’s goal for this year is to do better every time he swims. Cullin Baker set the goal to make it to states and to have a good year overall for the team.
For Claudia her goal for the season is to ,”Enjoy every moment my senior year with this team because I know that I’m going to miss it.”