Irvington Swim Team Kicks Off the Spring Season


Irvington Swim Team (2021-2022)

Members of the Irvington swim teams pose for a photo together.

On February 26th, the Irvington Varsity and Junior Varsity swim teams competed at the Tom Crocker Relay event against other schools in the Mission Valley Athletic League such as John F. Kennedy, Mission San Jose, and James Logan. This was the first meet of the season for Irvington, and all four Irvington teams (JV Boys and Girls, Varsity Boys and Girls) participated. This was the first meet of the spring season, and primarily for bonding purposes rather than competition. Considering how the past two years have gone, swimming as a sport is probably the hardest for dealing with COVID-19 protocols, but the team has been working hard thus far.

While the timing of the Tom Crocker meet meant that certain events had substitutes in place, the meet ran smoothly. “There were a few people that couldn’t make it, but we all had a lot of fun and filled in for everyone that couldn’t swim it. Really it was just pulling people into events to get as many people to fill in,” said Kayli Dai (9), one of the new swimmers on Varsity.

In comparison to individual meets in swimming, Tom Crocker was a relay meet, where people competed together in the same events, which required cooperation and hard work between all of the swimmers in each event. When asked about the team’s performance in the meet, Varsity Swimmer Kyle Tan (11) mentioned that one of the best events was the 8×25 kickboard relay, where swimmers hold a kickboard while swimming to the other side of their lanes.

“That might not have been our fastest, but it was the one where I think we did the best because we were all really coordinated and I think I had a really good time for that one,” he said.

Despite many of the swimmers being new members of the team, both Dai and Tan thought that team morale was good. “Swimming for highschool you have a lot more friends with you, a lot more people helping you out and cheering you on.” said Tan.

Dai mentioned that “it hasn’t been as daunting” to be a part of the team, and that “everybody is so supportive. It’s more laidback and fun”.

The Irvington team also had struggles coming back to swimming in the new season, with COVID restrictions from the past two years, which caused a decline in the people who joined the swim team. A new issue that the team had to deal with this year was the malfunctioning pool heater, which caused some practices to be canceled.

“We lost quite a few really good swimmers that have either graduated or decided not to swim because of last year’s COVID quarantined swim season. We’re definitely a smaller swim team, but it’s a good crowd.” said Brandon Wong (12), one of the swim captains. When talking about the pool heater, Dai mentioned that “It was 111℉ [in the pool] once, then 104℉, and now it’s finally 80℉. We had to take off a few days of practice because the pool had maintenance work for two weeks.”
Coming back to competitive swimming also took some time for everyone to adjust to, especially with how COVID has peaked multiple times with different variants such as Delta or more recently, Omicron.

“It’s always been really on and off because of different waves of COVID…sometimes I’d be at the pool almost everyday, sometimes I’d be gone for a couple of weeks. So it’s a little new for everyone to come back and get into it after COVID. We’re all just getting used to it and trying to adapt.” said Tan.

Another issue faced that has been a recurring theme for Irvington sports this year has been lower numbers. Currently, each team has less than 20 swimmers.

“We lost quite a few really good swimmers that have either graduated or…decided not to do swim because of last year’s COVID quarantined swim season. We’re definitely a smaller swim team, but it’s a good crowd with a lot of potential” said Brandon Wong (12), one of the captains of the swim team.

Despite the collective struggle of getting back into competitive swimming after a tough few years for many, the team felt optimistic about the upcoming season with Irvington.
“I think that something a lot of us will be working on in the swim team is to try and qualify for NCS (North Coast Section) Championships. We’re all trying to get individual events placed and get a relay team to NCS, to get to that level and compete.” said Dai.

Even though swimming as a sport has faced some of the hardest challenges with the pandemic, the Irvington team is off to a great start to the season.