Lions off campus

Yaeli Greenblum, Reporter

Senior Raya Schwartz’s muscles ache as she sits on the rough seat of her boat. Even with the pain, there is no place that she would rather be. A bond of mutual trust and reliance connects her to her teammates as they burst through the river, completely in sync. Every challenge is surmountable as long as they work together.

Schwartz is a crew athlete, and has competed on the Thompson Boat Club crew team since freshman year. Schwartz was first inspired by Ramah sleepaway camp counselor who told her about the sport. When she got home from camp, she began researching to find programs. 

With one to eight people occupying the boats, rowers must be perfectly in sync with each other in order to win. 

“There’s this trust. I’m working my hardest. I’m putting every single thing I have into this practice, into this race. If my teammates aren’t doing the same for me, that would really suck,” Schwartz said. “So everyone has this mutual understanding that we are putting our all in, for me, for you, for everyone, and we will take home a medal. We will win because we are powerful and we do it together.” 

For Schwartz, crew is a great way to get exercise as well as branch out socially. 

We all choose to be there, we’re all working towards the same goal,” Schwartz said. “I think that’s really special and hard to find.

The best part of practice for Schwartz is the middle. Once her and her partners get in sync and understand each other is when she feels happiest.  

Senior Hailey Nydish is a horseback rider for Silverhop Farm. While she thinks it would be fun to do a school sport, she appreciates the friendships that she has made through riding. Her love of animals is what brought her to the sport. 

“It would be fun to do something with school friends, that would be a great bonding experience,” Nydish said. “I’m also really thankful that it’s out of school because I have my own friends from riding and it’s just a different experience.”

Although it seems like an individual sport, horseback riding involves the horse just as much as the rider. Nydish loves how she gets to put all of her trust in her horse, and in return, the horse listens to her. In addition, Nydish must put in the work to take care of her horse. She cleans her horse, and if her horse gets injured, the care is partially her responsibility.

Junior Coby Malkus swims for All Star Aquatics, which provides him with a competitive place to swim and train. Although Malkus is very committed to his ASA team, he also participates in the more relaxed JDS Varsity swim team. 

“I want to contribute to the JDS team because I don’t do any other JDS sports, so it’s nice to be able to have my team throughout the year… and then come to JDS swim and contribute well,” Malkus said.

On ASA, Malkus swims for himself and his team, but while on the JDS team, he does it for his teammates. 

Schwartz said that one of the downsides to competing on an out-of-school sports team is that it is often hard to find time to do academic-related work.

“I’ve found ways to do homework, like I would take the metro to crew, and I’d get my math and reading done on the metro because that was a quiet time,” Schwartz said. “You learn how to use your time well.”

While for Malkus, swimming gives him a break from academics.   

“I like how it’s separate from school, so it gives me something to do outside of school but also it’s not connected to school,” Malkus said. “I also just like swimming a lot and it gives me an outlet to swim but also have time to do something I love.”