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The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The New Girls Varsity Swim Team Captains reflect on their experience as a “turtle”

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2023 girls varsity swim team captains
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Amid the fall season, the Girls Varsity Swim team, the Turtles, currently holds a record of 6 wins and 1 loss. The new captains leading the team this season are seniors Carolina Corcuera (Classic Science and Technology Editor) , Stephanie Zhang, Christina Watkins, Pema Sherpa, and Hilary Hong.

Reminiscing upon their time on the team, Christina recalls joining the team freshman year and having their practices in a parking lot due to COVID-19 restrictions. The team “did drylands (swim conditioning outside the water) for an hour every other day,” she said. Christina admits when she first joined the team she “didn’t think [she’d] enjoy it very much but after [they] finally started swimming [she] loved it.” 

Stephanie also joined the team her freshman year and remembers transitioning to pool swim practices to be very exciting. She said, “I’ve never swam competitively before so it was something new to me from the chants to learning how to dive.” 

Pema had a different experience joining the swim team her sophomore year, to get back into swimming after a two-year break. She thought joining the team “was a great way to make friends for the start of high school.” Similarly, Carolina began swimming on the team her sophomore year. 

The team values the time they get to spend with one another both in and out of the water, along with the support they have for each other. Carolina’s favorite team memory was having a team picnic her sophomore year, being “one of the first times [she] was able to get close with [her] teammates.” 

Hilary and Cristina said their favorite team memory was commuting and getting food with their teammates after practice. Stephanie said she will “always remember” the cheers during their meets. “Even when you’re tired or if you’re behind, once you hear everyone cheering your name to go, you’re almost instantly motivated to swim faster”, said Stephanie. She also enjoys playing the tire game which she compares to playing soccer in the water because “it’s a great way to bond and have fun.” Pema’s favorite team memory was the senior meet last year, where the juniors tearfully gave seniors their gifts. 

As captains, the girls are expected to “offer guidance to the other swimmers, collaborate on technical ongoings throughout the season, encourage them, and act as role models,” Carolina said. Carolina supports other swimmers with their technique at practice, such as working on their dives and turns, and she drafts line-ups and creates sets with drills for individual swimmers. Both Christina and Stephanie help the new members of the team with their swimming techniques, give their teammates (mainly underclassmen) information about THHS, and assure that communication between the coaches and the team is fluid. Stephanie also has the role of the stamper. “It’s a tradition to stamp green Turtles on everyone’s arm before we start swimming,” said Stephanie. Pema is responsible for pushing her teammates to strive for their best and to “bring up” the atmosphere during practices and swim meets. 

Pema notes that former captains passed down significant items to each of the captains, which include the turtle suit, stamp, horn, and cheer book and she was given the turtle suit to “always cheer on [her] team and make sure [her] team is harmonious.” 

The captains have many hopes for the remainder of the season, one being that the girls on the team will improve, break their personal records, attend practice consistently,  become more accustomed to swim meet culture, and advance to quarter-finals or further into playoffs, which the team was able to accomplish last season. 

Their swimming coach, James Jordan chose these captains because of their continued dedication to the team. He said, “Every year the girls [that] have been on the team the longest, usually I have as captains because [they] have more experience than any of the other girls.” He noted that one of the captains’ biggest strengths is perseverance and that “each captain definitely has longevity and they have really good experience to show the younger kids coming in.” Coach Jordan admires the captains because he knows they are involved in many other activities at THHS and their commitment to their team shows that “they have really good leadership qualities.” Overall, he hopes that the girls “learn as much as they can in and out of the water and [he] wants the team to try as hard as they can to get into the final four.”a

Many girls on the swim team look up to the captains, including junior Aurelia Liu and sophomore Natalia Piekarski. Aurelia says, “[they] lead the team by motivating us to go to practice every day, organizing our swim events, timing the girls, and bringing laughter no matter what. I like how they are always positive and know how to cheer us up.” With this type of motivation, she is sure to reach her goal to “drop [her] time for 100 down from 1:12 to 1:07.” Natalia is a new member on the swim team and said, “What I like about the captains is how they unify us as a team. They will teach us things that we haven’t mastered yet and always help us improve.”

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About the Contributor
Jacqueline Lowenhaupt, Sports Editor
Jacqueline is a senior at Townsend Harris High School. She loves traveling and tasting new cuisine. Her favorite thing to do is either walk her two dogs or hangout with her friends! Jacqueline also enjoys playing soccer.
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