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The Lion's Tale

Lions make a splash

Individuals’ progress, commitment propels year-old varsity swim team forward

Sophomores+Alexis+Bell+and+Shira+Finke+rest+on+the+wall+during+swim+practice.+
Sophomores Alexis Bell and Shira Finke rest on the wall during swim practice.

Sophomores Alexis Bell and Shira Finke rest on the wall during swim practice.

photo courtesy of Ilana Jach

photo courtesy of Ilana Jach

Sophomores Alexis Bell and Shira Finke rest on the wall during swim practice.

Sara Sporkin, Reporter

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Lions are not known for loving water, but that does not stop the members of the CESJDS varsity swim team from jumping into the pool.

The swim team, which began in the fall of 2015, practices on Sunday and Wednesday afternoons at the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington. The team consists of about 25 middle and high school students, although the athletes are separated by age when they compete. The team’s meets are against other private high schools and are held at local high school and university pools.

Senior Ethan Josovitz joined the team last year and feels that he has improved his swimming skills significantly. Josovitz first learned how to swim when he was younger at a summer camp, but never learned the proper technique. Joining the school’s swim team gave him the opportunity to correct his form.

In his six years at JDS, Josovitz has been part of many school sports teams, including soccer, basketball and cross country, but never found a sport that he felt passionate about until he joined the swim team. Swimming is special to Josovitz because it allows him to escape the stress of school.

“[In the pool] I’m by myself,” Josovitz said. “It’s quiet and the only thing I think of is just getting through the workout, and I’m usually never in that state of peace and relaxation.”

In addition to the stress-relieving aspects of swimming, varsity swim coach Michael Karel thinks that the disciplinary skills that come from swimming on a team can help students in other aspects of school. Karel sees the dedication required to swim year round as a trait which “translates very well” to academics.

Karel also believes that swimming as a team provides a sense of camaraderie. Swimmers compete in individual events, but their finishes can win points for the team. While Karel believes that the team’s results are important, he said self-improvement is the most significant aspect of swimming.

“There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes out of swimming,” Karel said. “You’re always swimming against the clock, not against the person next to you. If you swim your best time, that should be more than enough.”

Sophomore Sophia Sadikman had hesitated to participate in other sports since she does not like competition but, like Karel, said that swimming is more about challenging herself than competing with others.

Sadikman enjoys swimming, and previously swam in a swim clinic which gave her the chance to swim in a noncompetitive environment. She decided to join the JDS swim team last year because she thought it would be a valuable experience to get involved in a sport at school.

“I think it’s a great way to not only meet new people, but just improve at something,” Sadikman said. “I’ve seen people go from barely being able to swim to being one of the best on the team with enough practice and hard work, so I think it’s a unique sport in that regard.”

Sadikman thinks that having a swim team at school is important since it is a team-building sport, and appreciates that team members support and coach each other.

“[It] helps build your confidence in the sense that you can say that you’re part of something for your school that you’ve been working hard on and you can represent your school in that way,” Sadikman said.

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