Junior Hayden Linscott walks with his friends to his first class. They mutter about their lack of sleep and complain about the homework they had the night before. Meanwhile, Linscott has been awake since 5 a.m. Every Tuesday and Thursday he has morning swim practice for his club team Swim Academy. However, he has gotten used to jumping in the cold water to swim for two hours straight.
Year-round swimmers like Linscott have learned to combine their commitment with the sport and their enjoyment of it. Seasonal swimmers, those who don’t swim year-round, like senior Tom Peters, seem to have a more difficult time balancing the two.
“I come into the season at a little bit of a disadvantage compared to the other guys who swim year-round,” Peters said. “It’s kind of hard to enjoy practices that first week when I’m trying to get back in shape.”
Although he feels he might be at a disadvantage, Peters knows that it’s possible to keep up with those who swim year-round because last season he was the only seasonal swimmer to go to state. He swam a 1:02 in his main event, the 100-yard breaststroke, proving that having the right mindset and putting in hard work pays off.
While swimming is a physically demanding sport, it is also a mental exercise, since swimmers spend most of their time underwater with only their thoughts to help them stay motivated.
Over the years, Linscott’s mindset on swimming changed. He started swimming year-round at ten-years-old and used to dread going to six practices every week. Linscott says that swimming is not as social of a sport as baseball or soccer, and due to this, he’s not as motivated as he believes he could be.
Gradually, year after year, Linscott kept improving his times and became one of the best swimmers on his club team.
While Linscott takes a more serious approach to his team, Peters has a more relaxed attitude when it comes to swimming. He started swimming for Indian Hills Country Club (IHCC) during the summer at the age of six. For the first few years, Peters only swam because his mother would sign him up. However, Peters thrived in the spirited atmosphere, which kept him returning. IHCC is his only preparation for East’s season throughout high school.
According to Peters, his summer swim team fostered his interest in pursuing the sport at East. However, he has to adjust to the different intensity level of being on the varsity team for East, with better swimmers filling the East pool than he was used to during the summer. His summer practices were laid-back, and he would usually only show up three times a week. Once East’s season starts, he will have to practice six days a week and be much more competitive.
“Swimming is a lot of hard work but it’s worth it because of the good friendships you create,” Peters said. “You get really close with people on the team.”
Both Linscott and Peters play an experienced role on the varsity team. They both went to state last season, where East beat their biggest rival, Blue Valley North, by three points. Every year that Linscott has swam for East, he has gone to state. Last season he placed fifth at the state meet in the 100 yard freestyle with a time of 47.82.
While some swim year-round and others only swim for the East team, they will come together again this winter with one goal in mind: another state championship.