Missing their moment

Boys and girls swim teams at SHS go all-virtual in order to avoid being contact traced during their season


Emma Main

Senior Daniel Hiller performs the breaststroke during the third pass of the 200 yard IM. Hiller decided to go all-virtual to avoid being quarantined during his season.

While the question of being able to have sports in the middle of a global pandemic has always been present, the SHS boys and girls swim teams have taken every precaution to ensure they are able to have a season.

Every member of the teams chose the all-virtual option for this semester to avoid being contact traced and deemed unable to compete. A swimmer would have to miss two weeks of meets if they get contact traced and have to quarantine, and this timeframe would remove anyone quarantined from the first round of sectionals. By going all-virtual, they won’t have to worry about missing out on the upcoming sectional tournament.

“My motivation was reducing the risk of being contact traced and having my season ruined,” senior Blake Kottlowski said.

According to Athletic Director Brian Murphy, there are pros and cons within the debate of going to school or staying virtual. Personally, he likes when students choose the in-person option, but it could potentially hurt them if they were contact traced in any of their classes.

“There are so many different variables, some people have it easier than others,” Murphy said. “They have a nice and quiet room, others have little sisters and brothers, some people don’t have enough heat, some don’t have enough food, so it depends.”

It is difficult for swimmers to practice if they were contact traced. Since they have to be in the water together, unlike other sports, it is not as easy to workout alone or away from other athletes.

“I decided to go virtual to make sure that I wouldn’t get contact traced,” senior Daniel Hiller said. “With another sport like running or even basketball, to some extent you can train sufficiently on your own. But with swimming you have to be in the water.”

According to junior Caroline Reinke, the swim teams have worked way too hard to have their season be terminated by being contact traced, they would miss meets such as sectionals and everything beyond that. The girls team is undefeated in the regular season, and were able to add a fourth place finish in the Marion County Tournament, giving them high expectations going into sectionals.

“If I get contact traced now, a month before the big meets, all of the hard work and training would’ve been for nothing,” Reinke said.

The decision to go completely virtual has affected all athletes differently. According to Kottlowski, his choice has had a slight, negative impact on his school performance, but for Reinke it is a different story.

“I feel like I have more time to work on my school work and have my own schedule,” Reinke said.

Despite the benefits Reinke has found from doing virtual school for the majority of her swimming season, she and others on the swim team will not finish out the school year as an all-virtual student.

“I am going back to school when my season is over,” Reinke said.

According to Murphy, it’s different right now because athletes are practicing with less people so their risk of contracting coronavirus is down. It’s important to work out and to compete for physical, mental and emotional health.

Since SHS has given students the opportunity to go completely online this school year, it has created a tough decision for athletes. Hiller and other swimmers were forced to determine which was more important, their swimming season or physically going to school.

According to Hiller, he believes that academics should always come first, but now he is choosing athletics over academics. He still thrived while SHS was all online at the end of last semester, so he knew that it wouldn’t be an issue for seven weeks until the season is over.

“Swimming is not the most important thing in my life, but it does mean a lot to me,” Hiller said. “I would definitely be disappointed if I missed the tournament meets, since that is not only what I have built up to the entire season, but is also the last chance I have to swim in a meet in high school.”