Seniority takes priority

Catie Graves, Staff Writer

The 2018-2019 LBJ Swim Team is getting ready to start the season, with practices starting Sept. 17. This season features returning and brand new swimmers, with new tryout policies and a focus on a sense of family.

The season started with summer swim practices that happened at Barton Springs, running once a week through August. New and old swimmers would meet outside of Barton Springs, run through a dry land workout, then head inside the gates to cool off. After these practices, swimmers would head over to P. Terry’s for some burgers, milkshakes, and some team bonding.

Swim team is one of the closest teams at the school, according to LASA senior and captain, Bryce Yeazell.

“We do a lot more team bonding than most of the other sports do, and it has a longer season, so it’s really more of a community than the other sports are,” Yeazell said.

Swimmers on the team have to be at the pool by 6 a.m. to jump in often frigid water as the season runs through most of winter. The swim team does a lot of bonding activities like a welcome party, where they order all of their Pool Jags gear and an awards ceremony at the end of the year. There are also team dinners at restaurants that sponsor the team.

This year, there are some new changes to the tryout policy. If a swimmer has been on the team for a minimum of two years or placed eighth or higher in an event at regionals, they don’t have to try out. In the past years, every prospective swimmer had to try out besides the captains.

“Tryouts are going to be easier, just looking at what they are, as during last year’s sets we had some issues in terms of injuries,” Yeazell said.

This policy has been standard among most AISD high schools, so the team adopted it for their 2018-2019 season. This season is shaping up to be pretty competitive according to Yeazell, since there are a projected 40 people trying out, while the team can only take 25 new members. The tryouts only lasted three days this year; this is shorter than in previous seasons, where tryouts would be a week long.
Everybody trying out went to two mornings of swim then one morning of dryland. Dryland is what swimmers call exercise out of the pool, usually consisting of a running set, arm set, and ab set.

Even though a lot of people came to tryouts, not everyone practices with the team. A lot of club swimmers
do their own practices, then join in with the team for meets, fundraisers, and parties.

“We have a big mix of people who are really into swimming and people who do it just to be with the team.” said LASA junior and girls team captain Isabel Kilday.

Some swimmers even juggle school practice, club practice, and the burden of LASA homework. For a lot of kids on the team, such as LASA senior and Captain Amber O’Rourke, swimming has been their family, their rock during their time at LASA.

“Yeah [swim team] is my love,” O’Rourke said.