By: Julianna Nuzzo
During this COVID-19 experience, there has been quite a bit that has changed worldwide. One huge thing that has been affected was sports. Sports have a huge impact on keeping students motivated during school and give them more activities to do. I have interviewed two swim girls and Coach Raddif.
Grace Gray, freshman, had a great response to the questions asked. (1.) How have you had to adjust practices to meet COVID-19 regulations? “We have had to adjust practices, we can barely have any managers and only can have 25 people at each practice.” (2.) Do you have the same energy as last year? “I don't think I do. We don't get to compete in many meets and it's not motivating at all knowing that the hard work that I do doesn't pay off.” (3.) Did you have any other expectations for how your season was supposed to if COVID-19 didn’t happen? “I expected to be able to go to many of the meets and have my parents and family go to them, but my family is going to miss my meets because of covid regulations.” (4.) Has COVID-19 affected your swim performance compared to last year? “Yeah it has, I think compared to others as a freshman I expected differently than my last year swimming but it's decreased in my expectations because of everything happening and the fear of being shut down again.” To Gray’s response, I can definitely say she has been affected by these COVID-19 regulations and rules.
Along with interviewing Gray, I interviewed Brooklyn Dash. She has been a swimmer since she was a freshman and now she is a senior. According to her responses, I can tell she's definitely been affected by this experience of COVID-19. (1.) How have you had to adjust practices to meet COVID-19 regulations? “Practices for swimming don’t change too much, besides the mask. We wear a mask in and out, but we can’t wear masks when swimming that might be difficult. Considering I haven’t swum, it’s not bad or different.” (2.) Do you have the same energy as last year? “Yes, I still have the same energy, sometimes I have more because I get more sleep. The team, I would like to say has the same energy, love, and competitive spirit as last year too.” (3.) Did you have any other expectations for how your season was supposed to if COVID-19 didn’t happen? “Yes, I was supposed to play basketball. I’ve played basketball my last three years but this year I did swim because I feel it’s safer to play considering COVID-19. In the swim, you don’t touch others as much and not in such close range. If COVID-19 didn’t have the impact it does I wouldn’t be able to join and compete in as many new sports. This school year I’ve joined the swim, rifle team, RAIDER team, drill team, and even been able to work out more. COVID-19 has allowed more time and been a blessing and curse. I was excited to compete in all my regular sports, but I have found a lot of fun and great experiences/learning in new sports; it’s opened a new world.” (4.) Has COVID-19 affected your performance compared to last year? “Yes, I wasn’t going to swim this year, I was going to play basketball, I have my last three years, but swim seems safer with COVID-19. In other sports, I have noticed a mask was hard to adjust to at times but after a while, it’s something to get used to. There are still points when I need a “mask break.” For swimming, a mask doesn’t affect my performance. We can’t wear them in the water; therefore, everything is normal besides walking around the pool and spectators.”
The last person I interviewed was Coach Radiff. (1.) How have you had to adjust practices to meet COVID-19 regulations? “We have 40 girls out. 10 Seniors, 10 Juniors,10 Sophomores, and 10 Freshmen. That is a coaching dream and they are all varsity. No JV and I don't cut. You have to quit if you want out. Except for one eligibility problem, every single person has sacrificed and dedicated themselves to this season. The COVID-19 rule is no more than 25 at a time in the pool. So we have a practice at 5 a.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. for divers. Monday through Saturday. We are ending Saturdays next week because of so many meets coming up. The biggest adjustment is you don't see all of your teammates until a swim meet.” (2.) Do you have the same energy as last year? “If you are talking about me personally having ENERGY? I'm putting in 14 hour days. Six days a week. If you are talking about all of us. School in between practices is a killer. I am extremely proud of the girls for keeping up with their grades. We are struggling in some areas, but we know of their importance for now and the future. We are watching what we eat and trying to get rest. We still feel energyless.” 3. Did you have any other expectations for how your season was supposed to if COVID-19 didn’t happen? We have traditions that we have each year. Six big Invitationals across the state. 14 meets a season. This season only 7 and dual meets in your league only. No traveling out of Pueblo. No state Q times. You qualify to top 20 in each event by the last day of league meets. We have to compete against Springs and Denver teams at home against Pueblo swimmers only. How hard is that? Their sacrifices and dedication are all that is what they have going for them. 4. Has COVID-19 affected your swimmer’s performance compared to last year? “We are the defending League Champions for seven straight years and have not lost a dual league meet in eight straight years. Last week we beat Centennial 135 to 47. We have vowed to stay undefeated and no COVID-19, no hardship setbacks, no excuses are going to stand in our way. We are the mighty Hornets and that's final. I must admit It is extremely hard on emotions and head games. And as long as we stay together as a family, success will be our only result.”
From what I have heard students and coaches are being affected by the global pandemic. But no matter what if rules get changed or not the team members are willing to keep pushing and not give up. It has definitely been an experience for us all but I cannot imagine how it is for athletes.