The Swim Life

Early morning practices make Dallastown swimmers unique compared to other winter sports teams.


Coach Babcock

Dallastown Swim team will spend six days a week and nearly three hours a day swimming in the pool. During the winter season, their time is mostly spent here, in the aquatics center.

While most Dallastown students are still asleep at 5:30 am, the Dallastown swimming team is up and driving to their first practice of the day.

Unlike any other sport at Dallastown, the swimming team has morning practice, everyday. Although it is not mandatory, a majority of the team members are at practice by six in the morning. 

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings are spent in the pool, while Thursday and Friday are spent in the weightroom before school.

These morning practices are anything but easy. On pool days, each swimmer is swimming around 5,000 to 7,000 yards. That is equal to about three miles.

No other team has as much heart as we do.

— Kathryn Deitch

On weightroom days, they are doing everything from lifting weights, cardio, and riding the bikes. 

Despite the early hours, senior Justin Smick says, “…the team works works extremely hard no matter if we are in the pool or doing dryland.”

But that is not all to a swimmer’s day.

In addition to the morning practices, there is also mandatory after school practices from 3:00 to 6:00 pm. Every practice is broken up between swimming two hours and dry land, which includes cardio, strength and stretching in the stands and pool hallways.

They are also required to be in the pool from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays.

Head swimming coach Gina McHenry, who started in 2017, chooses a theme for each practice that differs from either sprints or distance.

Swimming Assistant Coach Gwen Babcock, who was a swimmer for the Wildcats in the 80s, says hard work and early practices have always been a part of the Dallastown way.

“One thing hasn’t changed in all these years, athlete dedication and time in the pool,” Babcock said.

So everyday, these athletes are working out for almost four hours a day, which is evidently a big dedication.

“I swim because I enjoy the challenge of the sport. I like to see how far I can push my limits and see the final result at the end of the season,” Senior Adam Golden said.

The swimmers use their morning and after school practices to prepare for their one, occasionally two, meets a week. 

“The best part about swim is the team environment. Although all of us swim the majority of our races by ourselves, worrying about the teams performance comes first at all times,” Golden said. 

The swim team consists of about 18 boys and around 25 girls. 

“I swim because I am motivated by my teammates who I call family. And I want to create enjoyable memories that last a lifetime,” senior Araby Marston said. 

Swimmers here at Dallastown are putting in four hours of swimming a day, six days a week, with a meet a week.

That means the swimmers are usually only getting about one day a week off, but to most of them the hard work pays off for a successful season. 

“I am always so proud of our athletes and how hard they work, how they motivate one another, and how much mental effort it takes to swim continually throughout the coldest and darkest days of the year,” Babcock said.

The Wildcats are hoping that the time and heart dedicated to their swimming will show success for the winter season.