NEWBURYPORT — Foes in nearly every other sport, three local high schools now have the unique opportunity to pair students together to comprise the area’s only high school swim team.
Newburyport, Triton and Georgetown high school students will be competing alongside each other rather than against each other.
“Everybody wants to win,” assistant coach and Newburyport High alumnus Alex Supple said. “But it’s also going to be a chance to grow the program. For a lot of kids it’s their first taste of high school sports so you want to provide them an atmosphere that’s welcoming and encourage them to continue. Beyond having a successful season in the pool, we want to create a space for people to feel like they belong to something whether or not they have a lot of individual wins.”
The team-first approach to this season was made clear from the get-go in a welcome letter sent by head coach Diane Sagaser.
In the letter, Sagaer said that she “plans to promote team spirit and a sense of pride in this new cooperative team, building camaraderie within a group of young adults who sign on to become a part of this exciting experience.”
Swimming is unique from many other winter sports, for athletes compete both individually and as a team. While many students swam on their own time or on club teams, this new swim team enables student-athletes the opportunity to compete together against other high schools.
“I like being on a team because I get to push myself harder each day,” Newburyport native and team captain Nikki Samuelson said. “I get to be with teammates, and I thought it was really cool that I can now swim during high school and be connected with other high school students.”
It also gives athletes an opportunity to make new friends who have a similar interest in swimming. Even on just day two of practice, this process has already begun between the team comprised of 22 boys and girls.