By Anoshka Ramkumar
North Gwinnett High School’s swim and dive team has always been an excellent example of a team that showcases hard work, commitment and energy. Despite the coronavirus pandemic that has had a primarily negative impact on the athletic community at North, these athletes have continued to maintain positive attitudes and focus throughout the course of their season, leading them to become back-to-back county champions.
The North Gwinnett Voice spoke to three senior athletes from NG swim and dive about the impacts and challenges they have witnessed with a drastically different season than the one they are used to. Amy Zureich (swim) was confident and clear about how the pandemic impacted not only her but the team.
“It was really hard at first knowing that my senior season wouldn’t be the same as my previous ones,” she said. “We normally have Camp Swamp at the start of every season so we can meet our new team and get to know everyone but because of the pandemic and social distancing we couldn’t do it this year.”
Amy continued to speak of how the pandemic has thankfully not affected the morale of the team.
“There is a lot more teamwork and we all work together to find solutions to make our season as normal as possible because we’re seniors and we’re leaders,” she said, “so it’s our job to make sure that our last year on this team is a good one no matter what happens.”
Nick Stark (dive) spoke about the support of the coaches and team parents during a very different season.
“One thing I’ve noticed is that for dive, a lot of parents have been volunteering to judge and film and help the team out in ways that we really need it and they’re doing their best to provide normalcy,” he said. “I’m very thankful for that.”
Stark was asked how the team had helped him to grow up to this point, where he is soon to be a graduating senior.
“My favorite part about diving for North is definitely the people,” he said. “Everyone is so welcoming and I’ve learned to open my shell up around new people I meet. They always push me to be better.”
Ethan Whiting (swim) provided a perspective on how the pandemic has taken a toll on proper team bonding.
“The biggest challenges during the pandemic have been being unable to get together as a team to bond and the inability for us to not always have the whole team together at swim meets,” he said. “Because of the pandemic, we have been unable to have as many group activities as before, which makes it much harder to form relationships with people on the team, especially the freshmen.”
Whiting, also a senior, explained that his experience on the team has always been a good one, even during a pandemic.
“By being on this team I was able to make friends with people I might not have ever become friends with before,” he said. “I was able to make friends with people across multiple grade levels who all shared a common interest with me, which made my high school experience much more enjoyable.”
North Gwinnett boys and girls swim/dive brought home a second County Championship on Saturday, Jan. 23, allowing them to move on to the State Championships that will be held Feb. 2 for diving and Feb. 6 for swim.