Nobody on the Jamesville-DeWitt/Christian Brothers Academy boys swimming and diving team expected the season to run smoothly. It was the only winter sport that was able to start for the Red Rams back at the beginning of the already postponed season. Since it was the first indoor sport to take place since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the limitations and safety protocols were higher than ever before. There were countless potential issues that could have derailed the season. However, after six meets and dozens of practices, everything had worked better than anyone could have foreseen.
The primary worry on everyone’s minds was safety. There will always be time for personal bests and qualifying times, but you don’t always get a second chance when people’s health is at risk.
This is why the rules were so strict. There were no fans allowed, spacing in and out of the pool was increased, the team was split into two groups for practices, and masks (which were kept clean in plastic bags) were taken off and put back on mere seconds before and after swimming. Luckily, these rules worked, even when they were tested the most.
There was one positive case within the team early on, but because of all the precautions that the team took, it was contained and there wasn’t any spread. From then on, the team had the occasional postponement or rescheduling due to contact tracing or timing issues, but the looming fear of the season being cancelled was never fulfilled.
Senior, as well as newcomer to the team, Shamus Endries was thoroughly impressed with how the Red Rams handled the challenges that came their way. Endries said, “The safety precautions were regarded with prudence throughout the duration of the season. Though they posed complications and hindrances to our meets and practices, they took precedent and I commend my teammates and coaches for their maturity and respect for the rules. There wasn’t a time in the season when I felt unsafe.”
Beyond the complex logistics of the season, there were still races to swim, dives to complete, and meets to win. The Red Rams posted a record of 4-2, including wins over Baldwinsville and Cicero-North Syracuse. And even though there wasn’t a sectional meet held, many swimmers on the J-D/CBA team are now able to say they beat the qualifying times. It’s safe to say that the swimming and diving aspect of the season went just as well as the safety aspect.
Because of the team’s push for safety, many of the team traditions weren’t able to happen exactly how they usually do, or even at all. However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t camaraderie within the Red Rams team.
“Although there was no water polo, fraternizing in the locker rooms, or Saturday morning trips to Ruston’s Diner,” said senior Nathan Chen, “I was still able to thoroughly savor my last season on the team by eating Tully’s in the parking lot and bantering with teammates and coaches alike.”
The discipline, execution, and spirit within the Red Rams proved to make for a successful season for everyone involved. Teammates, coaches, and parents all contributed to help make the season not just survive, but thrive.
“My biggest takeaway from the season is my new appreciation for having a strong support system,” said senior Michael Bratzlavsky. “My coaches, along with the continuous jokes and memories that were made, really helped me make it through the season.”