The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Meet the would have been SLOHS Girls Varsity Swim Team Captains


  April marked the official end to the first month of online school, along with the set decision to withhold the online learning process for the rest of the school year at San Luis Obispo High School.

Various aspects of SLOHS campus have been affected by this mid-year closure, with athletics suffering arguably the most challenging setback. Students who are involved in spring sports are having to trade their daily workouts and weekly games for Google Classroom assignments that commonly track the number of quarantine exercises that they are completing. But what about the athletes who can’t train properly for their sport?

  Expressions set out to get the SLOHS girls varsity swim team seniors/captains views on the early descent of their high school swimming careers.

Expressions: How long have you been swimming for?

Senior Sydney Cusick: I started swimming when I was five and I have been swimming ever since. I began swimming when I lived in Florida and was a part of the Wave Runners swim club. I was then a part of the Scottsdale Aquatics club when I moved to Arizona. When I finally got to California, I first joined the PUMA aquatics swim club as well as the SLOHS varsity swim team.

Senior Kylie Salinger: I’ve been swimming for fourteen years. I started out at a local swimming club called the Hampton Heights Hurricanes and I stayed there until I was thirteen. After moving to california, I joined the PUMA Swim Club and have been swimming there ever since. My freshman year of high school, I tried out for the swim team, made varsity and have made so many amazing memories since.

Senior Bella Garritano: I have been swimming for about thirteen years, as I started swimming competitively with the Hampton Ridge Gators of Marietta, Georgia when I was four years old. I would swim with them every summer until I was about eight. After that, I decided to join a local swim team, the Seahawks, when I was nine, and swam with them until I was thirteen. Lastly, I joined Puma Aquatics and the San Luis Obispo High School Varsity swim team when I was fourteen, and have been swimming with both ever since then.

Expressions: Were you ever interested in any other sports?

Cusick: As a kid, I was involved in a lot of sports including tennis, gymnastics, and soccer, but I never wanted to continue any of these sports; swim was the only one that really stuck with me.

Salinger: Originally, I was interested in soccer and track/cross country, but then I realized that I’m not too great at running.

Garritano: In my years, I have also played soccer, tennis, and ran track and cross country. Though all were great and left me with memories that will last a lifetime, nothing stuck with me as much as swimming did. Though the sport can be painful and boring at times, the results and bonds are worth much more than any other sport could give me.

Expressions: Will you continue to swim after high school?

Cusick: I was planning on swimming for UC Davis, though they unfortunately changed their times this year, so I may have to wait until next year so that I am able to join the team. But I am hoping to still swim somehow.

Salinger: Yes, I will continue to swim after high school. It’s such an amazing sport both physically and mentally that I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

Garritano: Yes! I have committed to swim and study at Concordia University Irvine. They were in need of a breaststroker who could supply them big points in the upcoming seasons, and I am just the swimmer for that.

Expressions: What will you miss the most about swimming on the SLOHS girls varsity swim team?

Cusick: I’m really going to miss the people the most. Swimming on a team is like being apart of a family; you make friends and meet people you may not have met if it weren’t for swimming. I’m going to miss competing with my friends and eating bowls and bowls of pasta with them. I’m also going to miss my extremely supportive coaches and fellow team captains.

Salinger: I will miss all of the friendships and memories that we made on the SLOHS swim team. Everyday there is something new to look forward to, and even if someone has a bad day, she has her teammates there for her. One of my most favorite things about swimming for high school is that I’m surrounded by the people I love everyday.

Garritano: I will mostly miss all the teammates I have grown up with and swam with over the years; they mean more to me than anything else. Being team captain for two years has allowed me to play a much bigger role in the team dynamics than I ever thought possible, and it was incredible to see these ladies listen to me and want to follow my leadership. I can tell that we all had unbreakable bonds, and I will never forget them.

Expressions: What advice would you give all of the underclassman who are interested in swimming?

Cusick: My advice would honestly be to just have fun! It may seem intimidating, especially if it is your first time swimming competitively, but you’ll soon learn that the swim team is a welcoming community and you’ll even meet some of your closest friends.

Salinger: To any underclassman who is swimming, I know that the workouts may be difficult and the swim sets grueling, but it’s worth it. The adrenaline after the workout, the rush after you get a PR [personal record], or the excitement of going on travel meets with your team; all those make the harder moments worth the pain.

Garritano: This sport is not for the faint of heart. You are going to struggle, you are going to push your body harder than you thought possible, and you will most likely break. But you will persevere, you will finish that race or that set, and you will become stronger than ever before. If you don’t like the sport, I advise you to quit right away, because swimming is much harder if you don’t enjoy the work you put in. But if not, keep with it, and sometimes you just need to put your head down and swim.

Expressions: If there is anything that you could change about your swimming career, what would you change?

Cusick: If I could change anything, it would definitely be my attitude during my first couple years of swimming. Although I was always excited to swim, I had trouble dealing with failure. Each time I added time to an event, I dealt with it in a negative way. However, I eventually learned that you can’t drop time on every event, and all that matters is that you did your best, no matter the outcome.

Salinger: The only thing I wish I had done better on the swim team is get closer with everyone. A lot of people have their specific friends, but I made an effort to get friendly with every person on the team each year. I wish I had the opportunity to do that more this season.

Garritano: I didn’t get serious with my training until after sophomore year, which led me to grind before junior year to get to my peak ability. This is because, until then, I didn’t know if I wanted to swim in college, but after I made the decision to put in more weekly hours than I have before, my times began to improve drastically. I wish I had put more effort in before that, because if I had, who knows how good I could’ve been.

 Numerous SLOHS athletes are devastated by this abrupt end to their season, but the seniors are the ones who truly have missed out on the last leg of their high school career(s). Use this knowledge to improve your skills for next year’s sports seasons, especially for the spring, in order to make up lost time.

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