Seniors Silva Ayrapetyan and Ploy Laohatongtip prepare for the upcoming series of races through tough training. They will face fast opponents who, like Ayrapetyan and Laohatongtip, have been swimming for several years.
Laohatongtip has been in swim since her freshman year, and Ayrapetyan has had experience in the pool from her years in water polo. It is an aggressive race of veterans.
The sun is high in the sky and the water glows a clear blue in the sunlight. The heat adds to the tension between the teams. Dozens of spectators are watching along the sidelines, cheering for their friends.
Birmingham High School’s Ayrapetyan and Laohatongtip line up along the shorter edge of the pool, right next to the opposing team. In a few moments they will commence the race, which involves several forms of swimming. The winners of these races are those who are determined, train rigorously, and have the most physical and mental strength. With this in mind, Ayrapetyan and Laohatongtip get into position to commence the race. Their extensive training will be put to the test, and will perhaps prove to be effective.
“We practice everyday until 5pm and we have morning practices 3 days a week,” said Ayrapetyan.
“Practice sessions are pretty demanding. I practice with a swim club year round and most days practices are pretty long. We swim a lot of distance to build up our endurance.” said Laohatongtip.
Extensive practices are key to success in races. The Birmingham swim team’s rigorous practice sessions strengthen the swim team for tough opponents, such as the swim team of Cleveland High School, who have been the rivals of Birmingham for a long time.
“They’re an incredibly speedy team and their large numbers definitely make them a force to be reckoned with,” said Ayrapetyan.
In addition to Cleveland, Birmingham’s most recent match against El Camino Real Charter High School revealed that El Camino’s swim team are fierce opponenents. The Birmingham swim team lost the match against El Camino Real due to new teammates in the swim team.
“It was challenging match because this year Birmingham’s swim team contains a lot of new swimmers so we’re trying to build up our team.” said Laohatongtip. “El Camino has a pretty solid team this year so the match against them was pretty difficult.
So far, this season the Birmingham team has played well overall. The team has had a few losses, but is making up for them with a growing number of victories, and they expect several more victories in the near future. Ayrapetyan and Laohatongtip are hoping for the best. Particularly Ayrapetyan, who joined swim this year.
“I actually started swimming this year, so hopefully it'll be a lucky year for us,” said Ayrapetyan.
Laohatongtip believes Ayrapetyan is an important teammate, despite the fact that it is her first year in swim. Ayrapetyan’s determination in swim has mdae her a great contribution to the team.
“She’s a good teammate and she’s hardworking,” said Laohatongtip.
Ayrapetyan will be relying on her prior experience playing water polo. As veterans of the pool, they are hoping to take home the championship in their final year of high school.
Junior Skylar Keck, who is new to swim, is also rooting for the team. He was motivated by Ayrapetyan to join the swim team, although he had already planned on joining it. Keck intends to remain in the team in his senior year and hopes to continue swimming after he graduates high school. Keck’s determination has helped him improve his swimming abilities.
“I’ve only done it for five months and I guess I can say I’ve improved a lot since then,” said Keck. “At the beginning of the season my fastest 100 freestyle race time was 1:13
and now its down to 1:03.”
Keck remains motivated and continues to attend practice sessions to further improve his abilities. He wants to support his team as much as he can. Keck sets personal goals that he plans to achieve in order to further support his team.
“I’m really trying hard to get faster on my butterfly stroke and make it to city finals,” said Keck.
Laohatongtip is proud of Keck’s success in his first year. She sees Keck’s aspiration to improve his swimming abilities .
“I admire him because he’s hardworking, and moving up to varsity, contributing to the team a lot,” said Laohatongtip.
The three teammates support eachother in the training process. They keep their focus on improvements and reaching city finals.
“I am greatful for Silva and Skylar joining the swim team for their first year,” said Laohatongtip.
With the determination of the trio, the Brimingham swim team expects many more victories to come, and possibly even being the victors of the city finals.
So far, Birmingham’s swim team has played five different opponents. Birmingham won its matches against Taft, Kennedy, and Chatsworth, for both male and female races. The Birmingham girls suffered a loss against El Camino, but the boys swim team defeated them. Both the girls and boys team of Birmingham lost to Cleveland high school’s teams.
The rivalry between Birmingham and Cleveland continues from water polo season to swim season. The Birmingham swim team, however, continues to stay positive to defeat their rivals the next time they compete. Despite the few losses, Birmingham has mostly triumphed this season.