By Maclaine Willett, Assistant News Editor
Amidst all of the pandemic madness, student athletes at NHS are lucky enough to compete in the winter seasons as gameplay is underway. The swim and dive program is among those competing inter-scholastically, although there are some limitations that come with this in order to keep everyone safe. Like most things recently, the meets look different than usual this year due to the spread of the virus. Instead of travelling to other schools to compete in their meets, the swim and dive program must remain in the Nantucket High School pool and live stream their meet for the other school to view. But as Emma Davis, a member of the swim team states, “Although the format is very different from normal, the team is slowly getting more used to it.’” The swim and dive program, among the other sports teams, has been able to adjust to the new conditions for game play.
Probably the biggest adjustment for the swim and dive team this season is having to compete in meets virtually. The lack of physical competition from other teams has definitely posed a challenge for the program to stay motivated, and Davis states that, “Competing against our own teammates has been a struggle. But, the players are just appreciative that they have the opportunity to compete at all under these circumstances, and most would agree virtual meets are better than none.”
Regarding the actual logistics of practices and meets when trying to stay safe from the virus, there are some precautions that the swim and dive program has to follow. During practice, the team must stay separated at all times and can only remove their masks when they are in the water. Clearly, this is not only a physical adjustment but a social one as well. The lack of close interaction would challenge any team during practice times, but it seems the team has been able to keep the team connections and spirits alive when it comes to practices and meets. During the meets, the team must spread along the pool deck while all wearing face-coverings to ensure a safe environment for all of the players. When it is a player’s turn to swim, the player must go to the block with a mask on and bring a plastic baggy. Just prior to getting in the water, the player must remove their mask and place it in the plastic baggy so that they can put the mask back on following their event. Again, Davis tells that this was hard to get used to, but it was one of the many necessary strategies to keep everyone safe.
Even though Davis initially “noticed that my teammates and I felt a little out of sorts,” she goes on to explain how the morale of the team progressed and adapted under these odd conditions. She explains how, especially now, it is important for the team to try to motivate each other on the pool deck as much as possible in order to keep the team spirit alive. Without the physical competition present, the swim and dive team has had to keep the competitive spirit alive through the support of each other. As they continue to push through a difficult, but successful season, the swim and dive program has shown the adaptability and persistence of the student athletes here at NHS.
One would have to go to 2013-2014’s records to see the last time this team lost a league meet. This year did not change as both teams went undefeated once again in their regular season, with the boys team tying in one meet. The team is graduating a whopping 15 seniors: Gerardi, Beebe, Cutone, Peters, Toole, Hofford, Christie, Cocker, Mack, Burns, Strojny, LeBrecht, Wood, Fleming, Brannigan. This loss “will be a big hole to fill,” Head Coach Jim Pignatto states in his final goodbye speech in their last regular season meet. Hopes are high for the swimmers who qualified for postseason cuts as they move to postseason.