“What defines Churchillian Swimmers? The virtue that characterizes us from the crowd is the unyielding faith, the formidable determination to carry on in adversities. With each stroke our iron-clad spirit is proudly displayed for the world to see – with each cheer, we strive to once again bring the glory back to Northland Drive. Our blazing spirit will imprint the victor’s crown on the glorious heritage of Sir Winston Churchill High School.”
–Ernest T., Grade 12
Two victories in two years. The pressure was definitely on Churchillian swimmers this year, as the defending city champions, but Sir Winston Churchill managed to snag the team aggregate banner once again by a narrow margin of 131 points on the second place finisher, Bishop Carroll High School. How did they achieve this goal?
From the months of October and November, the swim team members trained in one hour practices from Monday to Fridays, and even on some Saturdays for one and a half hours. There was a mandatory quota of 10 practices and 3 mandatory practices that everyone, and by everyone, it means everyone in blue or green, must make or suffer the wrath of Mr. Oborn. The aftermath of such an ordeal is not pretty, I can most definitely assure you. But wait. What are blue and green swimmers?
Here’s a quick run-down of the three categories of swimmers in the swim team:
Blue swimmers: These swimmers make up the bulk of the team, and are individuals who have had no prior competitive swim club experience at all.
Green swimmers: These are swimmers who have had prior competitive swim club experience and have been inactive in competition for at least a year. There were a few poor people who were denied entry into this category in the years passed, because it had been less than six months since they had quit the competitive swim team.
Red swimmers: Quite a rare species indeed. There are very few individuals in this category, as red swimmers are those currently enrolled in an extracurricular competitive swim club or had just quit a competitive swim club less than a year prior to joining the Churchill swim team. These are the only few people that have the privilege of torturing – I mean, training – the other swimmers on the team.
All of the aforementioned categories compete separately, meaning blues against blues, greens against greens, and reds against reds.
The training regiment of Sir Winston Churchill was quite stringent. Everyone must make first of all, at least two practices per week, which meant committing to either a Monday-Wednesday or Tuesday-Thursday schedule, then if possible, attend Friday practices and double-session Saturday practices. A minimum of 10 practices before November 6th was required. The city regulation actually dictates a minimum of 10 half-hour practices to be mandatory before the swim meet, but of course, Churchill being Churchill has to surpass these measly standards and make 10 full-hour practices before that date. There were two, technically three, mandatory practices that people had to attend to stay in the swim team, and they were the intra-school Bulldog swim meet, and the Talisman Saturday practice before the swim meet. Then the third technical mandatory practice was the Saturday practice before the November 6th 10 practices deadline. Unless there was an extremely special exception, not going to even one of these practices would have resulted in immediate expulsion from the team.
The practices themselves were quite stringent as well. There’s a pithy motto among the Bulldog swimmers and it was: “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, then you’re late. If you’re late, you’re in big trouble.” The warm-up starts right when practice starts, and being just two or three minutes late will cause you to lose quite a bit of warm up time. During the practice itself, the coaches push you to your limits – frequent timed sets and drill-building sets were the standard. Swim technique was thoroughly dissected and discussed then implemented, and those with dives less than par were thoroughly grilled on it until they could execute a perfect dive. The team would not stop pushing their limits until they reached perfection.
November 25th, 2014, the day our conjoined efforts finally paid off. Churchill was the embodiment of hardcore at the meet, in more ways than one. When being sequestered in the Talisman gym while waiting for other events to finish, you could spot immediately the large group of kids wearing blue shirts sitting near the sides, almost all of their noses buried in some sort of homework or some sort of textbook. It was quite the juxtaposition to the kids of other schools frolicking around and chatting. On the deck, Churchill was among the loudest schools cheering their teammates on. In the water, Churchill dominated nearly every single heat.
The relays were truly where the Bulldogs shone the most. I have to admit, though our cheering may have somewhat lost to that of Aberhart’s (in our defense, they had more people and they were waving around giant orange flags), our performance in relays blew all the other schools out of the water. It is quite amazing to comprehend, that in a span of only two meagre days, the relay teams were able to synchronize and pull off nearly flawless relay transitions that pulled Churchill teams far into the lead to finish first in nearly every single heat. In the end, 1st, 3rd, 7th and 8th belonged to Churchill in Boys’ 100m Medley relay; the Churchill 100m Medley relay girls swept 1st to 4th place; 1st, 3rd, 13th and 15th was captured by the Churchill Boys’ 100m Freestyle Relay; while 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 7th places were taken by the Churchill Girls’ 100m Freestyle Relay, resulting an overwhelming total of 468 points from the relays alone!
So what would the moral of this story be? Well, it would be that putting in the effort will allow you to reap the best results. It is widely known that Churchill has the most stringent training regiment of the high schools in the city, with the 10 mandatory one hour practices. This hard work does pay off, in the form of winning the team aggregate. In addition, we really need to get a Churchill school flag. If you see Mr. Oborn around somewhere, maybe try subtly suggesting for our team to create a team flag. Aberhart is not the only one with a lot of team spirit!
But really, we need a Churchill flag.
– Elizabeth T.
- If you would like to see a video of the meet, then the Youtube link is down below:
Credits to Ernest T. for the editing and Ryan M. for providing the footage for this video!
If you would like to see just how amazingly awesome Churchill did at the Swim Meet, please click the links below:
“2 years, 2 championships.
Our School name forbids us to be content with an average level of attainment. Being a Bulldog is synonymous with being exemplary. Many may be amazed by our unprecedented record last year, but few understand why. With talent and perseverance, individuals may achieve distinction, but once we band together as a team, we become Poseidon’s trident. Unstoppable & Indestructible
The torch is now in your hand. Together we will prevail. Together we will build an empire, one stroke at a time.
ONE CHAMPION ABOVE ALL ELSE.”
-Ernest T., Grade 12
Picture source: http://www.splashlamirada.com/splash-booking/swim-meet/