RANTS & RAVES: The Swimming Unit

The joys and horrors of the swimming unit

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RANTS & RAVES: The Swimming Unit

photo by Melina Tripoli

photo by Melina Tripoli

photo by Melina Tripoli

Rachel Schaelchlin, Reporter

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North Allegheny is a school district of its own — entirely different from the surrounding area. Many things make NA stand out: the students, the athletics, the academics, but one thing, in particular, sets us aside from everybody else – the swimming pool. Because NASH has a large swimming pool, boasting nationally ranked swimmers, divers, and water polo players, a swimming unit is incorporated into the curriculum of the 11th and 12th grade physical education classes. Whether we have 1st period gym class and homeroom time to change, or period 6/7 gym class with five minutes to change, we all share in the stress over the swimming unit, yet we leave the class with a myriad of memories.

RANTS 

Changing. One of the hardest things to do is putting on leggings after you have been swimming for 30 minutes. No matter how much you have dried your legs with a towel (or in a time of desperation, the hand dryers), the leggings just do not seem to budge. If I want to wear leggings on a swimming day, I can’t. That is, unless I wanted to take up five minutes out of the eight they (sometimes) give us to change. Since we are currently in the middle of winter, most people are wearing pants, and just like leggings, they are very hard to put on after swimming. The only convenient thing to put back on after being in the pool is our shoes. 

The dryness. I don’t know if NASH puts extra chlorine in their pool, but my skin and hair have never been drier than on days when I’ve been in the NASH swimming pool. 

The difficulty. I am not going to lie, the swimming itself is pretty difficult if you aren’t in the best shape of your life. I am not the best swimmer, and most times I feel like I am dying during the rigorous three-minute warm-ups we do in the pool … and let’s not get started on the two-minute treading.  Senior Laura Bautista explained her difficulty with the warm-ups: “I am literally the worst in my class; I can be in the first group to go out and by the time that the last group is sent out, I am just coming back.”

RAVES

Swimming can be a nice break from all the school work throughout the day; it is like a quick breather you get every day or every other day. Not to mention, if you have friends in your gym period, swimming will be ten times more fun. Before I had my schedule changed for this semester, I was dreading swimming because I knew no one in my class. But now after a quick schedule change, I have a friend who bears the water with me and I don’t nearly dread it as much as I once did. The bond formed with a peer in your gym class is a bond for life and rather hard to break.

I will admit, even though swimming is pretty difficult, it is really good exercise to get, in a short period of time. However inconvenient the changing and all the other stuff is, swimming does allow us to get adequate exercise, which we don’t always have the time to do in the evenings. 

This year, seniors and juniors have the option of getting their boating license if they get an 80% or higher on the Boating and Water Safety test. Boating licenses are required for anyone operating a boat or watercraft in the state of Pennsylvania. Should you find yourself operating a boat in PA in the future, you will find the boating license you got in high school to come in great use — not to mention, it never expires.

Yes, the swimming unit is difficult, sometimes more so than an AP Calculus test. Yes, you will feel like your lungs are giving out during that 20-minute swim. Yes, the swimming unit leaves your hair crunchy, your skin pruney, and your body bruised from the boats that don’t ever seem to go away — but it also leaves you with memories that will make you belly laugh for years to come.