Every day during the winter sports season, a handful of students from across the student body quickly walk to their dorm or locker. They briskly change from their dressy school clothes into their practice clothes: swimsuit, swim cap, sweatpants, and sweatshirt, then off they go onto the Mount Michael school bus to practice. This is the daily after-school routine for Max Swiniarski ‘20.
Swimmers need to be on the bus by 3:30 PM, having six minutes to change, according to Swiniarski. Mount Michael swimmers then need to meet the Skutt swimmers at Montclair Community Center on 138th and Center streets. Although swim practice starts at 3:45 PM, Mount Michael swimmers get to practice a little later, around 4:00 PM.
For all swimmers on the Skutt-Mount Michael swim team, practice ends at 5:45 PM, according to Swiniarski.
“It is tough because we are all starving and we don’t get back to campus until after 6:15,” said Swiniarski. “Once we are at school, dinner time is over so we have to have food from dinner saved for us to eat. I don’t like eating this late because I don’t get to eat dinner with my friends who aren’t swimmers.”
It is hard being on a joint swimming team for Swinarski.
“I think the Skutt swimmers are, in a way, a more part of the team than the Mount Michael swimmers. They get to practice before us, they have more swimmers on the team, and they all know each other well,” Swiniarski said.
Although swimming can be hard for Swiniarski, he is determined to continue with the sport.
“I started swimming when I was five years old and I have loved it ever since then,” Swinarski said. “When I swim, I feel free! I love the freedom of gliding through the water.
In the end, the sacrifices Swinarski makes to swim are well worth it.
“Swimming is really the only sport I fit into,” he said, “I get to bond with upperclassmen and I get to meet kids from Skutt and other schools. That is really fun and you don’t get to do that with other sports.”
The Mount is produced by the students of Mount Michael Benedictine School.